“Heisenberg looks around a bar and says, ‘Because there are three of us and because this is a bar, it must be a joke. But, is it funny?’

And Gödel thinks for a moment and says, ‘Well, because we’re inside the joke, we can’t tell whether it is funny. We’d have to be outside looking at it.’

And Chomsky looks at them and says, ‘Of course it’s funny. You’re just telling it wrong.’”

Perspective, it affects everything we do, including how we allow insight to influence our view of consumer need.

We saw something today that brought this home. A LinkedIn contact posted a blog about the tendency of millennials not to buy material (houses, cars) goods in the same way older generations have been trained to do. The data that support this is strong and the trend shows that Gen Y is even less inclined to follow the path of their elders, preferring to invest in experience over roots.

The thread included empirical evidence from people who have sold property in order to live an experience based lifestyle. Despite this the thread included a comment from a Management Consultant claiming the trend is down to the affordability of houses in the UK.

On closer inspection the demographic of the contributors justifies some review of the first assumption. Are they millennials or at a time of life when the choice is easier to make? In this case it was an equal split so the data needs some more division.

But, so what? If the trend is clear, is the cause important? If you’re a mortgage lender this insight has a different impact than if you’re a travel broker. Either way interpretation is going to influence your view of the macro trend and your response.

Innovation? No. An opportunity for innovation? Absolutely, in both cases.

The market research industry has made capital from this kind of situation for aeons. Because the same data can be differently regarded their market is wide. This is why bespoke insight gathered from new sources and the re-purposing of old data with new tools has become of high value.

Only recently, machine learning allows us to access and handle data in such quantity that views of the future can be your alone. Say what you will about technology, for a time this new facility has the potential to drive Innovation strategy into business with real and unique product and service differentiation. Design thinking differently informed; that’s a powerful combination.

But who to take advice from is another conundrum. This isn’t for us to say so let’s leave it to Seth Godin whose Heisenberg passage it is that we borrowed above: “…if we pre-process our reactions to things already labelled we don’t have to reconsider our plan.”

Future thinking: it’s what we do at room44.

Drop us a line at helpme@room44.co.uk and let’s see how we can help each other.

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