Meeting of the Minds with Gerd Leonhard: The implications of Big Data


My futurist colleague Gerd Leonhard and I have highly complementary perspectives, so we are finding increasing interest in engaging us together for executive sessions.

When Gerd was in Sydney two years ago we created a series of videos together. After I recently did a keynote in Interlaken, Switzerland, I visited Gerd at his home in Basel where we did another series of videos for his Meeting of the Minds project. Here is the first one in the series, on Big data.

Just a few of the points we cover in our conversation:

* The volume, variety, and velocity of data are soaring, creating an entirely new landscape across industries.

* There is an increasing divide between the performance of companies and individuals, driven by their ability to tap big data effectively.

* When people and their value can be quantified – even if it is inaccurate data – how do we maintain our humanity?

* The explosion of social data is providing us with the beginning of what will become a true reputation economy, despite the data being flawed.

* Big data risks amplifying quantifiable perspectives at the expense of valid and real human intuition.

* A ‘Wikipedia implant’ or other human augmentation could provide advantages to some.

* There is a potential divergence between those who choose to augment themselves with technology and those who can’t afford to or choose not to.

* To tap the potential of the ‘big data economy’, companies need to envisage what data could potentially be valuable, tap crowds to analyze it effectively, but perhaps most importantly make sure data analytics results in better business decisions.

* Companies need to create a sense-making mechanism that is distinctly intuitive.

* A key issue is bringing together the unique and distinctive capabilities of machines and humans.