It’s a Data Thing

Big and bold – Big Data is here and it presents a huge opportunity to mine a wealth of information that will boost your return on investment by means of measuring and improving business performance with data-driven decision making. Sounds complicatedly great, right?

However the investments in analytics can be useless and even harmful, if your organisation does not see a bigger, yet simpler, picture.

According to the Harvard Business Review IT departments need to spend more time on the “I” and less on the “T”, as the industry requires anthropological skills and behavioural understanding to deal with the Big Data challenges.

The privacy implications of this data should not be understated, but the ‘big data is bad” hype is also hurting our ability to think clearly.

Here’s a couple of examples of how massive datasets can be used to serve the people who actually generate the data and help them better understand the societies in which they live:

People Like U

No more fortune-telling or fortune cookies. This great tool lets you see where you are and where you are headed.

The People Like U site has been built with UBank and NAB customer information and Quantium’s analytical and software skills. It lets you see where people like you choose to spend their money and time in different cities, carry out financial health checks, see how this compares to the rest of Australia and even predict your future by adjusting age and income.

Site users can search by area, gender, age, income and living factors to identify trends and insights and compare their habits to those of their peers. For privacy reasons, all the names and addresses in the PeopleLikeU data have been stripped out.

The Human Face of Big Data

Android or iPhone is not a question – this app works on both.

The Human Face of Big Data was developed by a US researcher Rick Smolan and involves asking fascinating random questions of millions of people across the world, aiming to create a digital snapshot of the human race. The information will be used to generate data visualisations and reveal how people think and behave.

The completely anonymous results will be made available later this month online and in a coffee table book, which, according to Mr. Smolan, will be distributed to the world’s most influential people including US President Barack Obama.

Interestingly enough, Australia’s 22nd Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser, also helped to find funding for the project. And Mr. Smolan himself lived and worked in Australia for four years.

What is it about Australia and unlikely ideas? Well, it’s a data thing.

P.S. Watch Rick Smolan say his favourite “planet growing a nervous system” line:

By Vlad andrianov, ADMA

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