Have you ever read the transcript of Neil Postman’s Informing Ourselves to Death“? If not, go and read it. It is a rather enjoyable lecture about information. In summary, Postman argues that lack of information is not the reason for our social and technological problems. On the contrary, abundance of information is. When information is available, we want to use it in some way. We have a tendency to connect it and make use of it; whether it is meaningful or not, it does not matter. In the hugely interactive social world we live in, information amasses quickly. One piece of information leads to another and before we realize, we have dipped our heads into a huge cloud of information and it sticks. The cloud keeps growing as others around us interact with this information and in turn, generate more.
What would happen if the cloud is based on a wrong focus? What would happen if we are using this information cloud to design products for our customers? Often times when we conduct market research, we find an overwhelming amount of data in terms of market trends and volume. We use the readily visible data and start extrapolating the needs of our customers. We don’t look, we think. Our analytical minds kicks in and we now design products to our understanding of our customers, and not really for them. We need to see through this cloud for more insights without getting blinded by it. That is the way forward for sustainable product development.