We tend to see the constant monitoring of our lives mostly as a threat. All our devices are emitting information dust that is being sucked into somebody’s cloud and aggregated into a cognitive system that is learning our behaviours.

Every retailer we use a payment card in draws conclusions about us from its look-a-like groupings. Every social media channel we use knows our fears and thoughts and everyone else we know. Our banks can describe us as accurately as our DNA profiles.

But information is ephemeral. Only when it is stored and valued does it become data that can be analysed.

As a business, the same data can be accessed to a greater or lesser degree. Beyond Google Analytics, customer behaviour is available for review and provides insight that can inform product design.

Consultants will always offer new sources of information, unique insight, the most creative and previously unseen product strategy. It’s our stock in trade. But, in almost every project, the real magic comes when we talk to you. There can’t be an ‘ah ha’ moment unless we are all in the same room.

My mum used to say: ‘look home before you look away.’ Our top tip for seeing what your product could look like next: don’t forget to look back. In your hard drives, there is and client information that is of such high value and specificity, that to commission it would cost too much. Your earlier market reports, consumer profiles, product ideation notes, team meeting minutes, even the pitch documents you’ve got on file from prospective vendors are tailored to you. They’re priceless.

Old-fashioned, old values or old school? What do you think?

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