Learn all sorts of things

Enrique Dans. Professor. IE Business School

1 May 2014

The web is a huge source of information, a non-stop stream of content that can make a difference for companies that are willing to innovate and examine available data.

The current business environment offers almost unlimited access to an enormous variety of information. Information on clients and transactions has gone from being deposited in departmental silos to residing in modern applications used to manage information pertaining to the entire company.

But let’s take a look beyond our business: the fact that social networking has taken such an incredibly strong hold means that we now have a radically two-way environment in which our clients tell us all kinds of stuff - some good, some not so good. Pretending that you don’t hear the complaints will not get you very far.

The Twitter account or Facebook wall have taken over from the phone, and are the place where clients ask or complain, generating an enormous amount of feedback. And although it may seem difficult to analyze such a similar range of interactions, it is possible. Listen and learn, but do it in a respectful manner. Don’t spy. Be transparent, make your clients understand that analyzing this data will serve to help you improve your relation with them, not squeeze more money out of them.

But again, don’t stop there. The web also offers data on your competitors, or even other industries or environments where innovation processes are taking place. Diversify your sources of information. Look for inspiration. Read. Read a lot. Then try to surround yourself with people who do the same. Analyze. Use a machine to learn from the data:  machine learning, the barriers to entry of machines that are capable of learning and deducing the models and rules from enormous sets of data, have plummeted so far that you will be surprised at the level you can afford.

Innovate. Learn all sorts of things. This environment is too rich to keep doing the same old things. 
 

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