Theme Park (ESOMAR BIG DATA 2016)

  • Insight Bumble attended the Big Data World 2016 in Berlin the other week. The event showcased some great examples of how Big Data is being used and implemented across various industries. Two key themes emerged 1. Team up – Market Research and Big Data need to work a lot closer together & 2. Art and Science – human judgement based on real-life experience and the need to make practical decisions is still key to actionable insights and Big Data doesn’t look to replace that just support it better.

The Run up  

In the run up to ESOMAR Big Data World 2016, I for some reason had that same feeling I got as a kid going to a theme park. The excitement over the last month has got stronger and stronger. You may think that this analogy is a bit strong but that’s genuinely how I have felt. I think the main reason why I’ve been so excited is that when someone talks to me about going to an industry conference, I often ask myself two questions ‘is this conference going to be different?’  and ‘will I learn something new?’. The answer to both these questions was yes.

As the conference approached and I delved further into the agenda, the more detail I read, the more my eagerness grew. The experience of reading the agenda itself was like pre-navigating around a theme park map, thinking ahead at what rides I wanted to go on first.


Team up

The conference for me was a real call to action for the very best insight professionals to really champion the need for MR (Market Research) and Big Data to team up. In nearly all the cases that were exhibited there was some great examples of how MR and Data Science/Big Data needed to work together. We all know that Big Data is all the hype these days and there are some great articles floating round the internet about it. Attending a conference like this really bought to life and hammered home that us MR professionals need to take leadership on this matter and data scientists are more than willing to be involved. The industry is at a major crossroads and I as an insight-buyer am looking more and more at suppliers that understand this new world we have just entered and I don’t care what buzz words you use, to describe this.


Art and Science

After a very engaging two-day conference on the Spree bank in the heart of Berlin, I also was reassured that my industry colleagues believed that ‘Art’ plays an important role in the Big Data conversation (fitting that we were in the Art capital of Europe, Berlin). Overlaying human judgement based on real-life experience and the need to make practical decisions is key to actionable Big Data, was something nearly all the presentations called out. We saw many great examples of complex data models, machine learning tools and algorithms that still required an element of art to be applied in nearly all cases. My preconceptions prior to the conference was that many in the industry thought that Big Data and data science was seen as a replacement for the ‘Art’ side of decision making. I was delighted to hear that those I met at the conference very clearly didn’t feel that way and actually felt that our industry needed to do more to understand the ‘Art’ side of decision making. This balance of Art and Science is something that Danielle Feinberg talks about in her TED video (see below) throughout the conference I kept thinking back to this video. In my opinion it’s a must watch for all Insight professionals.

Pillow talk

As the conference ended, it was exactly that feeling that I had when I left every theme park as a kid – I was knackered but satisfied with my day’s achievements. Although thoroughly drained and talked out, I headed to my hotel room and I’d replayed various presentations I had heard. Just like when I was a kid back from a theme park replaying the moments of adrenaline while trying to get to sleep.  I was also starting to think about who I need to engage with back at work to explore a few ideas I had picked up during the conference. As a child I’d prime myself with stories of my trip to theme park ready for playground talk. In a similar way I couldn’t wait to head back to work to tell my colleagues all.

Danielle Feinberg – Art and Science.

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