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Design ‘Thinking’ the Analytics

Updated: Jul 3, 2020


What is Design Thinking all about? Design Thinking is neither about building a shiny new product nor about deep thinking. It is about innovative and empathy-based approach to solve problems keeping consumers at the center of this process. It is all about consumer first!

There is a paradigm shift from ‘whatever you make, customer will buy’ to ‘make what customer wants’. And we all know how difficult it is to know what customer really wants!

Today's consumers are empowered with wide choices and power of consumer driven technologies (mobile, social, wearable, IoT ). From a business perspective, getting deep insights into changing consumer preferences has become a competitive advantage.

What is happening in the world of Analytics ? Business Analytics is about exploration of data to make data-driven decisions. Business analytics has evolved from formatted reports to data exploration, predictive and prescriptive modelling. Analytic delivery has shifted from being IT centric to Self-serve. All these changes have happened to take business analytics closer to consumers and understand changing consumer preferences better and earlier.

We get to know few data points about our consumers from PoS (Point of Sales) or social media data, for example, age, marital status, gender, preferences of consumer purchasing our products. This data helps us segment our consumers, get more insights about each segment and position our offerings. However, this does not help us develop deep empathy for our consumers, understand their situation and define problem statement to help understand underlying wants better.

Where do they converge? Design thinking gets us closer to the lives of consumers, understand their pain points, evolve a problem statement and build a quick prototype. Analytics can be leveraged to build data model around the problem statement and develop understanding of the magnitude of the problem. It will help develop right consumer segment and will lead to better solution.

For example, breakfast habit in India is quite different than several other countries. To launch successful breakfast products, it is not enough to know data points about consumers through PoS system. It is more important to live their lives and find out implicit problems (like time spent cooking, steps involved, taste preferences, family size etc.). Data exploration done based on problems which are unraveled using design thinking, will provide opportunity to innovate and launch new products to better suit specific segment of consumers.

This is what I call Design Thinking the Analytics!!

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