Tuesday, March 27, 2012

How will Big Data reshape the scenario planning field?

Two recent reports in The New York Times describe the incredible ambition and potential in the Big Data field. One article examines he work of Gil Elbaz, a mathematician, Caltech graduate, and former Google employee, who also the founder of Factual, a company which is collating unprecedentedly large amounts of data with an extremely wide range of topics and sources. Factual’s mission is to try to identify and store every available fact in the world.  Elbaz sees the world as “one big data problem,” and believes that “If all data was clear, a lot fewer people would subtract value from the world. A lot more people would add value.” The other article reports on the work of researchers in probabilistic topic modeling such as those of the Cultural Observatory, a Harvard-based group which are developing powerful algorithmic search and analysis tools for revealing patterns and associations in large information repositories such as arXiv, a massive scientific paper archive.

These new developments in the Big Data field will lead to tools that will offer not just an unprecedented scale of data availability for innovation in scenario planning and other foresight methods but will also create new demand and opportunities for scenarios as a robust narrative form for conveying data pattern and association analyses. The drive to use the new data capabilities to better manage and communicate organizations’ strategic response to future uncertainties will also generate the challenge of data overload and overly complex data analysis - all data must, after all, ultimately be transformed into stories for widespread human understanding.

Posted by Zhan Li on 03/27 at 10:23 PM
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