I have offended so many people by suggesting their lovely, wild nature reserve would benefit from a tea shop. Or even a tea kiosk!
Your comment lead me on a long Le Carre inspired daydream about what would happen if we abandoned spreadsheets and took on the actions of the security services in gathering intelligence and running agents in order to understand what was happening in the environment. You would up with a richer, more real time picture of what was going on, but it would be really tricky to base a White Paper on.
I can think of examples in economics where there is opportunities to gather and consider that more qualitative data, for example the Low Pay Commission would undertake lots of site visits to firms to get a feeling for how it was impacting companies. Someone once told me that the Bank of England had regional agents whose job was essentially to chat up small business owners on the golf course and get an on the ground feel for market conditions.