Where Do Innovators Turn For Help?

Photo by: Marina del Castell

Decision-making can happen in an instant or be drawn out for years. For many businesses, the result — a decision — becomes the guideline for how money and time are spent from that point forward.

I just returned from the GMAC Leadership Conference and, as you would expect from any industry-focused conference these days, there was talk of big data, managing your data, analyzing your data. The message many speakers relayed was “it’s not about the data itself, it’s about the decisions.”

This is good advice, and many folks charged with hairy challenges around improving operations, service, and products should heed it. I do in my role as COO. Managing the data is critical to reaching that optimal level of performance.

But for those of us in the world of innovation and entrepreneurship, there isn’t much data. We are in the unknown, reaching new customers with new offerings and new business models — which is why the decisions seem so risky.

So with little "big" data, dashboards or regressions, what’s an innovator to do? Where should we go for help in making a decision?

Hand over that decision to the marketplace. That’s right, fork it over — to your customers, to the stakeholders, to the market. Let the market give you data! And move away from relying solely on opinions from the boardroom or industry reports or surveys of general trends posed as relevant data to your particular challenge. Move into the unknown. How? Get out and test a 2D prototype and have the market be your lab. It will test your hypotheses and guide you to what works.

What decision did the market place make for you or your team? I’d love to hear about it! Comment below or message me: @natalie_s_foley.