Kathy Sierra had a graphic about what difference between what an incremental improvements can buy you and where you sometimes need to be — see http://headrush.typepad.com/creating_passionate_users/2005/03/incremental_vs_.html . It occurred to me, on reading this, that when you let data drive the answers, you’re more likely to come up with those incremental improvements. You might be able to leap the big frickin’ wall, but that’s as much a matter of luck (having the right data handy and tripping over the right way to see it) as skill. When I’ve seen “data driven” decision-making, it’s mostly been about these incremental tweaks, resulting in things like 25 flavors of the same toothpaste.
Turning around and asking “what questions can I not answer from this data?” (can I make at least some unknowns more known?) can help, for sure. Thanks for the reminder.
And as another Pacific Northwesterner, my immediate question was “how cold is it?” which ranks above sunny/cloudy in my data-driven world.