September 19, 2011
Analytics and creativity are seldom used in the same sentence. The natural instinct is to delineate the two as left-brain and right-brain pursuits. Analytics and creative teams speak different languages, use different tools, and find inspiration in different places.
Customer Intelligence (CI) professionals are usually closer to the world of analytics. They capture, manage, analyze, and apply heaps of customer data using advanced analytical tools and techniques. But in order for them to step out of a perceived geeky image, CI professionals should think about how to add a dash of creativity into their roles.
Analytics made its way to the creative world especially with various testing tools, but has enough creativity made its way into analytical projects? How can analysts and CI pros add some creativity?
- Ask the same questions, differently. Arriving at the hypothesis or questions to pursue when analyzing data can be an output of a creative brainstorm. Framing the question to ask of the data is as important as the analysis itself.
- Summarize data in creative ways. New types of data are pushing the limits of what traditional data mining and analytical tools can do. This requires creative ways of uncovering relationships between seemingly unrelated entities.
- Make the data sing. Data visualization as both a data-mining tool as well as a presentation method is fast becoming popular to communicate complex trends and results into a digestible format, especially when the audience is not analytically inclined.
In our conversations with CI professionals, they often mention the dearth of analytical talent as a stumbling block to implementing best practices. I plan to write research next quarter about how universities and organizations are investing in building much-needed analytical talent to nurture future CI professionals, where I intend to probe into the intersection of analytics and creativity.
I would love to hear your thoughts and comments around this topic.