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Posts in category 'Service design'

22 October 2012

How Xerox uses analytics, big data and ethnography to help government solve “big problems”

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Through the application of analytics to Big Data, as well as ethnography — the design and implementation of qualitative field studies to observe cultural patterns — Xerox is answering important questions about traffic congestion, our reaction to it, and how city governments most effectively can provide services to address this and related needs.

To explore these issues, Ben Kerschberg of Forbes interviewed together Ken Mihalyov, Xerox Chief Innovation Officer for Transportation Central and Local Government; and David Cummins, SVP, Parking and Justice Solutions.

Here are the ethnography questions:

Q: At what point do you think technology reaches its limits and thus requires ethnography to make the program as efficient as possible?

Ken Mihalyov: I think we’ve found that we like to get ethnography involved as early in the process as possible. There are things that we can certainly accomplish with our algorithms and Big Data alone. We can look at the data and see trends that we would not otherwise see. Ethnography is a strong counterpart to looking at the data a certain way and drawing conclusions from it. We can confirm that we’re working on the right problem, that we haven’t missed something and that our interpretations are correct. Ethnography helps us confirm those factors and that we’re seeing the bigger picture that includes human interaction.

Q: I can imagine that ethnography could be as important to observing a manufacturing line as it is to dynamic parking. Do you think there is an over-reliance on Big Data without looking at important human elements such as expertise gained by years on the line or on the streets?

David Cummins: I’m not sure that it’s Big Data versus ethnography, but rather we’ve found that they complement one another in indispensable ways.

Ken Mihalyov: Data can take you a long way, but when people are involved it’s not always the whole story. You need to understand and document the way things really work, especially the interactions between different processes. There’s very often a difference between what you expect to have happen and what’s actually happening when people are involved, and that’s very enlightening.

19 October 2012

Lugano conference on digital experiences in smart cities

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On Saturday 27 October, the Italian-speaking Swiss city of Lugano will host the 4th edition of the UXconference.

The 2012 edition of the conference, which is organised by the Sketchin team, will focus on the relationship between digital services and people’s lives, with particular attention on the home and the city.

Speakers this year come from Switzerland, Italy, US and UK, and include Carlo Ratti from MIT’s Senseable Cities Lab, Stefan Klocek and Chris Noessel from Cooper, and Experientia senior partner Jan-Christoph Zoels.

Jan-Christoph will discuss supporting sustainable lifestyles.

16 October 2012

Brave New City

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Metropolis Magazine asked seven visionary design teams, both established and up-and-coming, what they predict a fully accessible city might look like (and better yet, how it would function).

“We broke the city into its component parts and then, like casting directors, asked, “Who would we like to tackle this one?” The eager and inspired responses from our dream team thrilled us.”

“What follows are imaginative, practical, funny, high-tech/low-tech, humanistic design solutions that make room for everyone and, in the process, invent new ways of making cities.”

Getting Around: Transit Hub
by Grimshaw Architects
Grimshaw Architects, which designed the award-winning Southern Cross Station in Melbourne, Australia, believes that a seamless transportation network is the key to our future. Grimshaw designed a hub that adapts to the evolving city and provides all people, whatever their needs, with a way to get around town.

Picking Up the Groceries: Public Market
by West 8
Farmers’ markets in parking lots aren’t the only solution to sustainable commerce. In 1995, the urban design and landscape architecture firm West 8 reinvented Binnenrotte Square in Rotterdam, closing it off to traffic and letting the locals take over. The firm used that experience to create our inclusive marketplace.

Sharing Resources: Community Center
by Interboro Partners
Interboro Partners has been compiling The Arsenal of Exclusion
& Inclusion (www.arsenalofexclusion.blogspot.com), to look at how cities admit or exclude people. The firm’s ideas for the community center in our new city draw upon the book, which will be published by Actar later this year.

Taking a Walk: Streetscape
by Linearscape
Linearscape have made it their mission to understand the built environment’s relationship to landscape, so they take an integrative approach to streets, applying existing technologies and reconfiguring the sidewalk for people of all ages and abilities. Linearscape’s won the 2012 Emerging New York Architects competition for imagining a future urban landscape.

Finding Your Way: Urban Navigation
by OPEN
OPEN believes in continuously reinventing itself. Yet it doesn’t always look to the future; sometimes the old way of doing things is the best. Its way finding system for our new city isn’t technological. OPEN suggests that people who are lost in the city do something unusual—ask someone for directions.

Living Together: Multi-Generational Home
by John Ronan Architects
John Ronan Architects is concerned with how a design takes into account building performance over time. So for our new city, the firm “interviewed” a 120-year-old great-grandmother in the year 2120. John Ronan Architects won a 2012 AIA Institute National Honor Award for their design of the Poetry Foundation in Chicago.

Working Virtually: Workspace
by LUNAR
The key to good design is knowing what people need. This is what the product design firm LUNAR focused on when considering how people in our new city would work. Addressing the growing number of virtual offices, the firm created products to encourage natural interactions even when people aren’t physically together.

5 October 2012

An enchanted Odyssey on your iPad

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Article by Francesca Salvadori, Scuolalvento blog
Translation from the Italian

Technology is probably the last thing that comes to mind when you think about poetry and how it can be captured and transmitted. But this emotional and colourful voyage with Ulysses would not be the same on paper.

The application is based on a book with gorgeous illustrations and wise and simple storytelling, but without the diffuse backlighting of the screen that transforms even the deepest greys and blues into something lively and vibrant, the enchantment of the narration would never be as strong.

Polyphemos really walks into you, ever bigger and frightful; the captured winds in the bag of Aeolus hurl themselves on the sea; the lure of the Sirens, seated between corals and opaline jellyfish, hypnotises you; and the shining Calypso, notwithstanding her blond grace and the surrounding flowers of an eternal spring, has a broken heart due to the hero’s rejection…

It’s hard to imagine a more convincing introduction to the Odyssey. And although events have been ordered diachronically, resulting in the loss of the flashbacks and flashforwards that characterise the typical circularity of the time of Ulysses, we capture the tragedy of the shipwreck at the glance, seeing him exiled in the waves of the vast Mediterranean Sea.

This little jewel – created by the Milan publishers of Elastico – will be precious for anyone who needs to engage young people with the works of Homer, as it is full of synthetic but intelligent page scenes and narrated by an assuring, fluid and relaxed voice, while containing a coherent selection of the story’s episodes.

The simple and moving digital story allows any of us to seed the taste for literature with children and pupils, paving their way into the pages of poetry.

And hopefully they will start to love other literature as well.

The Voyage of Ulysses (available in English and Italian) cost 3.99 Euro (4.99 USD).

But even if it costed 10, it would be worth purchasing…

5 October 2012

Ritual and the service experience

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The interplay between efficiency and quality in a service experience is often what separates a merely transactional interaction from a valuable and pleasurable one, writes Patrick Quattlebaum of Adaptive Path.

“The former gets the job done; the latter does so while creating a more human connection and an enduring relationship between service provider and customer. Unfortunately, in most cases efficiency wins out. Most organizations lean heavily on analytical methods to define rigid processes and procedures that are designed to reduce waste and increase predictability in service delivery. This approach views the organization as a machine to be fine-tuned and the customer as a rational actor who enters and exits processes like a rat in a well-designed maze.

Yet, customers are less rational than they would like to admit and more complicated (i.e., human) than process engineers would prefer. Much of this derives from how the unconscious mind affects behavior. [...] And, the unconscious mind is not only molded by individual experience, but by societal norms and rituals deeply embedded within a culture.”

Read article

3 October 2012

How to create a cutting edge Smart City visitor experience

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A four step guide from the Milan Expo 2015:

Step 1
Ask your main sponsors (in this case Cisco, Enel and Telecom Italia) to indicate the relevant “Smart City” technologies that they already have, are currently working on, or are generally trendy.
In the Milan case these are push technology services, QR codes, smart phone apps, mapping services, RFID tags, biometric identification, security services, electronic walls, gestural interfaces, augmented reality (and eyewear), immersive virtual reality, 3D avatars, health tracking services, and foldable tablets.

Step 2
Agree with these sponsors to hire an advertising agency to develop a short video scenario of the Expo 2015 visitor experience, using all these technologies, and obviously adhering to the general vision and principles of the Expo.

Step 3 (VERY IMPORTANT):

  • DO NOT make it realistic by introducing context, such as the City of Milan, traffic, other digital services people might use, other people, or anyone who may not be familiar with smartphones, gestural interfaces, QR codes
  • DO NOT base your ideas on the actual behaviour of people – since it will be impossible to say how people might behave in 2015, any user research is distracting
  • DO NOT show any use that goes beyond what you can already do on a smartphone or website in 2012 – like navigating, browsing and communicating – and emphasize passive media consumption
  • DO NOT indicate that people (and small companies) can create their own bottom up services – as this might be a security risk

Inadvertently doing any of the above, will diminish the power of the perfect visitor experience you aim to create.

Step 4
Use this video in key presentations on your Smart City credentials and highlight how these services will resolve the key visitor experience problem that came to the fore during the recent Beijing expo: queues.

The result: Expo 2015 Smart City video (Italian version)

(I hope you capture my irony.)

26 September 2012

The magic of good service

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THE customer is king. So some firms have started appointing chief customer officers (CCOs) to serve the king more attentively. These new additions to the (already crowded) C-suite are supposed to look at the business from the customer’s point of view. They try to focus on the entire “customer experience”, rather than on individual transactions.

An article by The Economist reflects on the matter, and refers to the book “Outside In” (Amazon) by Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine of Forrester Research, who observe that customers are growing more powerful.

“The internet makes it easier to shop around and share complaints with a wide audience. Yet poor service persists. Mr Manning and Ms Bodine have been asking customers about their experiences with American companies for years. In 2012 a third of the 160 firms they asked about were rated “poor” or “very poor”. Health insurers and cable companies fared worst.”

The article ends with this hilarious recommendation: “Phone a firm that has appointed a chief customer officer and see if you can reach a human being. If not, that CCO might as well be tossed from an executive-floor window, no doubt clutching his collection of ‘journey maps’ and ‘customer archetypes’.”

7 September 2012

Service design in tourism

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SDT2012 was the first international conference on service design thinking in the travel and tourism industry. For the first time, the conference brought together a community interested in the practical application of service design thinking within the travel and tourism industry.

The conference was the closing event of the project “Service Design in Tourism” funded by the European Union under the CIP Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme, and hosted by MCI – Management Center Innsbruck, Department of Tourism.

A free 142 page e-book with Case studies of applied research projects on mobile ethnography for tourism destinations.

Abstract

Tourism becomes more and more transparent through social media and tourism review websites. Nowadays, it’s the individual guest’s experience that makes or breaks the success of a tourism product. Thus, the focus in tourism shifts from mere marketing communications to meaningful experiences. Service design thinking can provide an in-depth and holistic understanding of customers required to cocreate meaningful experiences with guests.

The book provides an introduction into service design and tourism and presents seven case studies of European tourism destinations, which used the app myServiceFellow as a mobile ethnography research tool to gain genuine customer insights. The book reports lessons learned of these case studies, gives managerial implications and an outlook on future research fields for service design in tourism.

“Service Design and Tourism” is the written outcome of the research project “Service design as an approach to foster competitiveness and sustainability of European tourism” funded by the European Union under the CIP Competitiveness and Innovation Program.

4 September 2012

MindLab, Denmark’s cross-ministerial innovation unit

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MindLab is a Danish cross-ministerial innovation unit which involves citizens and businesses in creating new solutions for society. It is also a physical space – a neutral zone for inspiring creativity, innovation and collaboration.

They work with the civil servants in three parent ministries: the Ministry of Business and Growth, the Ministry of Taxation and the Ministry of Employment. These three ministries cover broad policy areas that affect the daily lives of virtually all Danes. Entrepreneurship, climate change, digital self-service, citizen’s rights, emplyment services and workplace safety are some of the areas they address.

Working with user-centred innovation requires a systematic approach to what needs to be investigated plus a wide variety of methodologies. MindLab’s methodologies are anchored in design-centred thinking, qualitative research and policy development, with the aim of including the reality experienced by both the public and businesses into the development of new public-sector solutions.

Their work is based on a process model which consists of seven phases: project focus, learning about the users, analysis, idea and concept development, concept testing, the communication of results and impact measurement.

MindLab is instrumental in helping the ministry’s key decision-makers and employees view their efforts from the outside-in, to see them from a citizen’s perspective. They use this approach as a platform for co-creating better ideas.

MindBlog, MindLab’s blog, is very rich in content and worth delving into. The keywords are: citizen-centred innovation, anthropological methods, service design, public development, communication, idea and concept development, innovation strategy and cross-institutional collaboration.

2 September 2012

Focus on service design – in UK and in Italy

 

Earlier this year, the UK Design Council and the Arts & Humanities Research Council conducted a wide ranging review of the place of design research in UK universities, and its connection with businesses and policymakers. The aim was to identify future areas for research funding, and new and innovative ways of bringing research and industry together to contribute their ideas.

The findings from the initial scoping study indicated that a focus on service design is of the utmost importance, as it is an interesting field both in the design profession and in academic research, and one in which there is considerable opportunity for engagement with business:

“In relation to the UK design industry and the disciplines that we reviewed, we think it would be fair to say that the area that is perhaps most neglected is the developing sector and discipline of service design. It was certainly the area most regularly cited as in need of attention across all of the stakeholder research that we have conducted, but also has the potential to make major contributions to innovation and to major challenges such as health and sustainability.”

We believe that it is bringing together economists, design businesses and design researchers in multidisciplinary teams that will generate evidence that can fill some of the gaps currently seen in the literature.”

The Design Council will now conduct a study of service design that will conclude in November.

Italy

In Italy, there is a strong tradition of service design at academic level, with high-level English language Masters programmes at Domus Academy (directed by Elena Pacenti) and at the Milan Polytechnic (directed by Anna Meroni).

But too few of the students end up working as service designers in Italy, and despite good initiatives such as Feeding Milano (LIFT conference video), the impact of these programmes on public services is still scarce.

We at Experientia contribute to making that change happen, having hired former students from both programmes and also recruited their interns. They work with Italian and global players in multi-disciplinary and evidence-based projects, as recommended by the Design Council scoping study. Experientia partners Jan-Christoph Zoels and Mark Vanderbeeken also taught service design this Spring at resp. Domus and the Polytechnic, eager to inspire future positive change in the Italian context.

7 August 2012

Service design at IKEA

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Walking through IKEA over the weekend with two young children, writes Shailesh Manga on UXMovement, was a healthy reminder of what contributes to an ideal customer experience: innovative product design and thoughtful service design.

IKEA covers product design with innovative home furnishings that are cost effective.

Providing this outstanding product experience is only made complete by wrapping an amazing service experience around it.

1 August 2012

Design principles for eating sustainably

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“Design Principles for Eating Sustainably: Bridging the Gap Between Consumer Intention and Action” is the title of an ethnographic research driven service design project by Canadian design and innovation firm Cooler Solutions.

Experience suggests that our intentions and actions are not always aligned. This is certainly true when it comes to eating: where food is concerned, making real, lasting change is challenging, even when the desire is there.

In their study of sustainable eating, the Cooler Solutions team conducted ethnographic research to explore the relationship that people have with their food and to determine ways to elicit positive change. From this research they identified actionable design principles in order to guide service designers, retailers, policy-makers and other interested parties to ultimately increase sustainable food-consumption behaviours among the public.

- Read article
- Download report

24 July 2012

Book: This is Service Design Thinking

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This is Service Design Thinking: Basics – Tools – Cases
Edited by Marc Stickdorn and Jakob Schneider
BIS Publishers, 2011
376 pages
(Amazon link)

This is Service Design Thinking outlines a contemporary approach for service innovation. Service design and design thinking are lately evolving into buzz words for management and business consulting. This is Service Design Thinking strives to unveil the practical meaning behind these terms in everyday use. The book introduces this new way of thinking to beginners but also serves as a reference for professionals.

Although service design and design thinking in general recently gains vast interest by both business and research, until now there was no comprehensive textbook outlining the approach, including its background, process, methods and tools as well as contemporary case studies. A set of 23 international authors created this interdisciplinary textbook applying exactly the same user-centred and co-creative approach it preaches. “The unique visual language of This is Service Design Thinking extends the idea of a classic textbook. Based on workshops and contextual interviews using prototypes of this book, the reader is now supported with various visual aides to facilitate a pleasurable and effective reading experience” highlights Jakob Schneider, co-editor and graphic designer of the book.

Change is a constant: Innovative service concepts and ground-breaking business models outrun established products and services. Social media empowers customers and cause an overdue shift of companies from classic advertisement towards service quality and customer experience. Social media as the customer’s megaphone broadcasts the perceived service experience to a growing audience. Thus, the perceived experience becomes the key factor for success of both new and established offerings. This entails business opportunities particularly for small- and medium sized companies, since customer recognition does not necessarily rely on mere market share anymore.

“The strength of service design thinking is that it is not a defined and thus restricted discipline, but rather a common approach and process including various tools and methods rooted in different disciplines from design to engineering, from management to marketing.” explains Marc Stickdorn, editor of This is Service Design Thinking. An appendant website to the book offers free downloads of ready-to-use tools such as the Customer Journey Canvas.

29 June 2012

Low2No smart services and informatics workbook published

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The Helsinki Low2No project team just released a smart services and informatics workbook that was developed by ARUP and Experientia.

Low2No is a broad project, initiated in collaboration with the Finnish innovation fund Sitra, aimed at the development of a Helsinki mixed-use city block called Airut on the Jätkäsaari peninsula, which will have low or no carbon emissions.

The 110 page booklet describes work-in-progress on the smart services and urban informatics component of the Low2No project activities.

In the words of Dan Hill, “the aspect of ‘smart services‘, also known as urban informatics, explores the potential of contemporary technologies – particularly those increasingly everyday circling around phrases like social media, ‘internet of things’, ‘smart cities’ and so on – to enable residents, workers, visitors and citizens in general to live, work and play in and around the block in new ways. These are predicated on the same low-carbon outcomes that drives the Low2No project in general, but also a wider “triple-bottom line” approach to sustainability, which might include beneficial social and economic outcomes, as well as environmental.

“Today,” he says, “we’re sharing some of the work-in-progress as it developed, in the form of the “informatics workbook” developed by the design team, as a tool in the design process.”

Hill describes that the team wanted “to use the building project as a ‘Trojan Horse’ to warrant a reason to look at this potentially powerful combination of smart technologies and services — with an emphasis on the latter — and in enabling positive behaviour change amongst the various groups who will use the block.”

“This work often involves positioning these otherwise technology-led areas in a more human-centred, and behaviour-oriented, framework — getting well beyond the hype about “smart cities” — whilst also trying to connect it to business drivers (the lack of the latter has hampered pretty much any serious progress in smart cities.),” he adds.

Arup and Experientia worked on this aspect of the project, together with partners Sauerbruch Hutton and clients Sitra, SRV, and VVO. Over a couple of years of engagement, with Experientia leading and driving, and Arup working on the informatics aspects in particular, the project’s design team produced some rich thinking about how to embed the potential of this area at the core of the project, that are now presented in the workbook.

Read more and download booklet

12 June 2012

Augmented sensing through smartphones

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So how are we doing to augment our senses through digital technologies?

Here are some of the products currently on the market that allow people to augment their sensing (and sense-making) through external sensors, with result summaries visualised on smartphones and the web:

- Health and healthy living: AsthmaSense, DigiFit, FitBit, Up
- Sleep: Lark Sensor (WSJ article), WakeMate, Zeo
- Sports: Nike+ (running), Strava (cycling), Wahoo
- Home energy: Nest Learning Thermostat
- Plants (!): Koubachi

It feels like a lot more is to come.

2 June 2012

MA thesis: Service Design in the Age of Collaboration

 

MA thesis by Veronica Bluguermann in collaboration with Nokia, presented as part of the graduation requirements of the Industrial and Strategic Design Programme of Aalto University’s Department of Design.

Not so long ago, cell phones were only used just to make phone calls. Today hundreds of thousands of applications and services are available for smartphones. With them, people can communicate, play games, find places, and organize their day. However, the vast amount of possibilities can confuse users when choosing the best option. In addition, the global mobile content market makes it hard for users to find local solutions. This thesis in collaboration with Nokia proposes services that aim at:

  1. helping customers to meet closer their needs by customizing the mobile phone content at the time of purchasing; and
  2. generating means of collaboration among content developers, retailers and customers for producing mobile content targeted to local needs

A Participatory Design approach was applied for developing the customization services. Observation, contextual inquiry and cultural probes methods were implemented to learn from diverse users. A co-design session was conducted to explore new opportunities with Nokia stakeholders. The results are several scenarios envisioned for Mass Customization services of mobile phone content at the point of delivery. The thesis offers:

  1. a framework of collaborative creation models for Mass Customization; and
  2. insights on customers’ engagement in the activity of customization.

Download pdf

(via International Service Design Network)

28 May 2012

Experientia concept video for a sustainable trade fair centre

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The Event project for Kortrijk Xpo, Belgium, developed concepts for how to make trade fairs and temporary events more sustainable.

Experientia® developed the resulting concepts into a video, showcasing four of the best concepts in action.

The video of these concepts is now online on Experientia’s vimeo channel.

The “Virtual Xpo” concept focused on ways to reduce travel and to encourage lower-impact travel to expositions.

“Living Kortrijk” envisioned ways to make the expo centre’s sustainable values and solutions available throughout the city.

The “Booth dashboard” visualises the carbon impact and/or savings of creating each expo booth, as well as its energy use during the event.

“Eco-fair network” proposes a collective, global movement to make expo centres more sustainable.

28 May 2012

Video online of Experientia’s mobile phone concepts for emerging markets

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Experientia® has posted a new video on its vimeo channel, showcasing mobile phone concepts for emerging markets.

The video was made three years ago for a project in developing markets for Vodafone, but we can only show it now.

Set in India, the video introduces a suite of mobile phone concepts to help people at the economic Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP) in emerging markets carry out daily tasks, such as package delivery, travelling home alone, or accessing the internet for the first time. It imagines solutions outside of the usual commercial alternatives, taking advantage of existing networks and workflows.

Detailed background on the project can be found in our “Developing markets” project description.

24 May 2012

Aljazeera’s The Stream on alternative currencies

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Aljazeera’s The Stream reports on how people declare economic independence by establishing alternative currencies.

“People and businesses are establishing micro-currencies in the wake of the global financial crisis in order to take matters into their own hands. These small alternative forms of money are used as a way to promote local commerce and challenge the current economic system.

Critics, however, claim they are merely a gimmick. Others say it is a way to keep money within a local economic area while forming resilience against the volatility of the global system.

In this episode of The Stream we speak with Eric Garland (@EricGarland), Heloisa Primavera (@jelenabartermad) a sociologist in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Peter North, a senior lecturer at the University of Liverpool.”

Watch episode (YouTube)

3 May 2012

How companies like Amazon use big data to make you love them

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Businesses now sit on data goldmines, but very few leverage the data to improve customer service. Ziba’s creative director Sean Madden suggests three ways forward.

“Big Data has gotten a lot of attention over the past 18 months as retail, manufacturing, and technology companies realize the gold mines they’re sitting on and rush to scour them for competitive advantage. Nearly all of this discussion, though, revolves around consumer trends, marketing guidance, new product planning, and other market-level insights. [...]

Perhaps the only business and marketing topic that’s been talked about more than Big Data recently is the evolution of brand relationships into two-way conversations. Now that consumers have seen what social media and mass customization are capable of, they increasingly expect this kind of personalization in their communication with favored brands, not just a passive role absorbing marketing messages. Combine this insight with the rise of Big Data, and you have a clear mandate: In order for interactions to feel individualized and human, they must be well informed. That makes data about the customer you’re talking to right now the most useful data of all.

Read article