'Embrace the Outliers' by Ben Essen
In his Gold Winning essay, Ben Essen, Head of Planning at Iris, argues that the term ‘Big Data’, which implies scale, objectivity and quantification, reinforces the creativity-hindering idea that more data can give us more certainty. But these new channels of data also give us variety, bias and qualification. Embracing the outliers and the data that make us uncomfortable will help us ask the questions that unlock true creative innovation.
Highlights from the Gold winning entry include:
- To make a creative leap, don’t look for trend lines; look for the abnormality within the data.
- Big Data shouldn’t be about the numbers; its value lies in the meaning unearthed by human scrutiny.
- Data isn’t objective; decisions made on what data to track have human bias cooked into it. So it is not sinful to apply human subjectivity to its analysis.
- Don’t use data to provide evidence and certainty; use it to add provocative disruption to the creative process.