Everything is Falling Apart Slowly

Everything is Falling Apart Slowly (Customer Insight)

Our insight technologies have been decaying for decades at a cost to organizations. They are as with the nature of everything becoming worse each day due to lack of innovation and attention.

A. As the world gets exponentially smarter every day we are not able to keep up. Old technologies are slowing down organizations ability to learn — and this widening gap is making us dumber each day.

B. Current insight technologies employed by organizations are a poor fit for the level of uncertainty they are supposed to provide for. Broadly speaking they are not real-time enough, don’t produce a system of action and do not provide broad enough scope for discovering outliers (such as what happens to customers’ demand patterns when industries mutate or collapse).

C. As with any industry incumbents are in the business of protecting their entrenched business models. This also goes for the insight industry which has shown demonstrably little interest and attention to using the newest technologies to develop new formats and new solutions (or maybe they have, but their current organizational OS is hampering their imagination).

D. Technologies don’t just happen out of thin air, they demand an extreme amount of hard work. If this attention isn’t given to them, the solutions won’t stay the same — they will worsen. As pointed out by both Elon Musk and Kevin Kelly.

«People are mistaken when they think that technology just automatically improves. It does not automatically improve. It only improves if a lot of people work very hard to make it better, and actually [without hard work] it will, I think, by itself degrade» Elon Musk, TED 2017
«Everything without exception requires additional energy and order to maintain itself. I knew this in the abstract as the famous second law of thermal dynamics, which states that everything is falling apart slowly. .. existence it seems is chiefly maintenance. .. Brand new computers will ossify, apps weaken with use, code corrodes, fresh software just released will immediately begin to fray.» Kevin Kelly — The Inevitable, Chapter 1 Becoming

It’s easy to think that what we need in this state of uncertainty is clarity. That there is data out there which will make everything understandable again. But the nature of a complex problem (and I am arguing that any customer problem is so interconnected and immediate that it is complex) is that it is uncontrollable, unpredictable, continuously shifting and has no certain sustainable right answer.

What organizations need are insight technologies giving them the ability to adapt to a new generation of management and strategy — to help them reshape from planned to experiment-based business processes, to help them get fit for uncertainty.