The Paradox of Data Overload and Insight Scarcity

“We are drowning in information and starving for knowledge.” – Rutherford D. Rogers

Anyone who has taken a foreign language knows that when you are new to it, you might not fully understand it. After all, words are just words without context to fortify them. If your brain is a constantly working computer, then it is easy to see how this analogy can apply to data. Humans and their networks are constantly being inundated with data, and where it gets to be a problem is when it comes to “Data Puke”. As Daniel Keys Moran would say, “You can have data without information, but you cannot have information without data”, meaning that without a purpose, data is useless.

Data overload can cause problems among business and people alike. Marketers, for example are constantly being fed an endless slew of data. Many do not know what to do with this data, and do not have the tools to interpret it. The most successful of those marketers, however, are the ones that know how to interpret that data and use it to better their actions and marketing decisions. Outside of marketing, this can also be a problem to the everyday person. Health is especially impacted when being overrun with data. How are healthcare providers and their patients to know what course of action to take when there are constantly opposing statistics?

The answer to fighting data overload is to use actionable insight. While a lot of this deals with intuition, the majority deals with common sense. Pulling together data and common knowledge will ultimately allow a person to come to the right conclusion regardless of the overload of data. It may feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack, but in that parable the biggest obstacle is not that the needle is small, it is that there are so many piece of hay surrounding it.  To sift through that hay, never forget the power of insight.