The Lighthouse Family and George Clooney...

As we climb the lighthouse stairs and see over the horizon, we need to keep the new data and analytics in perspective. Context is king.

We - writers and readers of this site alike - are kindred spirits. We are the "Lighthouse family" because we all want to, or need to, climb to the top of the lighthouse to see what's over the horizon. We know we can't always change what's coming toward us, but we can be ready, perhaps sooner than others, to take action. Every day of my professional career, I have climbed at least some of the spiral steps inside the lighthouse.

When we look over the horizon, we can see all those important issues coming toward us, like digital customers, the impact of regulatory issues, the consequences of the Internet of Things and many others. But these issues don't come to us as a small drips of news, rather as a tsumani of information. Every day - hour - I get new insight and ideas. I have more opinions in one day than I had annually a decade ago.

We shouldn't complain. The alternative to being at the top of the lighthouse is, for me, pretty gloomy. It's about being down at the base of the lighthouse, standing on the rocks, being beaten up by the waves of change. It's like being in the dark when making important decisions, only wetter.

Often coupled with all this text information is the amount of analytics we receive. We are becoming analytics junkies. Perhaps someone should set up "Analytics Anonymous" for those who can't live without their data.

But don't we need to take all this information and the analytics with a pinch of salt? They are only relevant when seen in context. Look at any opinion, set of figures, blog even, at face value, and you are a poorer person. It's only by understanding the context of the information that you gain real insight.

The context might mean understanding how you are doing compared with your nearest competitor. Or even how your insurance customers are behaving at the supermarket checkout - maybe they have less disposable income, and your drop in revenue might be a function of their personal decisions to spend less on insurance so they can feed their families.

So my point is this: Imagine if all the information we received - data, comment, opinion - had an element of context to it. Let's call that prospect "Insight 2.0."

Context is everything. At a personal level, I may not be George Clooney, but at least my wife thinks I'm better looking than the next guy. At least I hope she does...

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