We live in a world of increasing data automation.  Dashboards, trackers, numbers, numbers.  Important?  Yes.  Critical we’d say.  But are numbers enough?  What about, say, actually meeting a customer?  To generate better, more fully rounded and holistic human understanding.  When we move on from ‘Big Data’ the next phase will be ‘Big Humanity’.  Why?  Because of these five things a spreadsheet cannot do:


  1. See the big picture. The human brain has a remarkable ability to see patterns and make meaningful connections from different knowledge sources.  The more diverse the sources, the richer the connections.  Qual, quant, dashboards, KPIs and metrics are all good stuff.  But it needs the humanity of you meeting with actual customers to make connections and to see the big picture.


  1. Tell you what you ought to do. There are some things in life that are very difficult to articulate.  Such as, ‘gut feel’ or, ‘a hunch’ or, ‘intuition’ or, ‘instinct’ or, ‘acumen’.  All have played a part in some of the biggest, world-changing business ideas.  Not one of them belongs in a spreadsheet.  The more direct connection you have with your customers (to be fair, combined with data from, ahem, say, spreadsheets) the better your business instinct will be.


  1. Simulate the sights, sounds, smells, taste, look and feel of humanity. Your customer is neither a column nor a row.  For many brands, they just don’t make sense until you simply see them being used with your own eyes or had a conversation with someone who uses it.  “Nothing ever becomes real until it is experienced.” John Keats.


  1. Maybe for some people but I’ve never been energised by a spreadsheet.  However, if I’ve spent some time with a consumer or a patient and had a truthful discussion, I’m buzzing.  Ideas are popping.  I’m motivated, stimulated and enthused to do more.  I’ve never seen a spreadsheet do that.


  1. The ability to empathise with your target customer is critical to your brand’s success.  To understand or, even better, anticipate and respond to their emotional needs because you’ve proactively got out of the office to understand them better.  The world’s most successful brands do a very good job of creating emotional connections.  If you’re not meeting with your customers, you will not understand them as best you can.  If, one day, spreadsheets are able to care then the robots will have truly taken over.

Get out and Mingle – be better connected.

Image courtesy of Franck V. on Unsplash.