Why Advanced Analytics needs the “16%” to connect the …?

Before I answer the title question, it’s only fair I first tell you who I believe are the “16%”.

As some opinion and thought leaders in different walks of life have defined and theorized about the laws of diffusion of innovation, the 16% are those people that are termed as the innovators and early adopters – they are the ones who will stand in line all night to get the latest LED TV or the latest wearable tech gadget from Apple. They are compulsively those people that will put their hand in the cookie jar not knowing what they will find, but for them the journey to experiment is as, if not more important than the result itself. Yes they are the ones who take the leap of faith, innovate, adopt and experiment without bothering of the consequences or the outcome – for them it’s the sheer thrill of venturing into the “unknown” unknown – no, am not talking about the thrill adventure enthusiasts – although I would say they come pretty close to being in that category!

In the business world, we also find the 16% – some are naturals, some converted, some border-line, given all the corporate constraints that they live with. Their characteristics do not end here, they are visionaries – when they see an idea or concept, they very quickly understand the value of it and because their brains work in, what I call, 5 year vision intervals, they quickly connect the dots to grasp the 5 year cumulative potential and adjacency effect and apply it to all that could happen in the next 5 years.

These 16% get the big picture vision not only in terms of scope, expanse, applicability or adjacency, but also in the most important dimension – time! They connect the dots simply by piecing together a mental picture of how the vision looks like in 5 year periods and then take spot decisions – based on effort, cost and impact.  Impact is where they very quickly understand and perceive – because they can comprehend size, scale, distance (longevity) and time in profoundly advanced ways compared to the remaining 84%. This is why they can connect the dots so fast…

In my fledgling entrepreneurial career of positioning custom advanced analytics (AA) to customers, a key quest has been to find my 16% – because AA will find its patronage only with these people.

AA is not a service, it’s not a product or a solution – it’s a concept, a journey, an idea that needs the “blessing” of these 16% population. Quite remarkably, I have found a few of them in my customer interactions and based on certain loosely developed criteria, I can very easily fit my prospect into this bucket if they qualify. My intent is not too classify my prospects in silos, because we do have outliers and sometimes, my reading of someone does go wrong , because my judgments are solely based on answers I get to leading questions, so please I am not passing any value, character or personality judgments.

With the slow and mediocre adoption of AA in the enterprise, these 16% play a crucial role, because AA is still a concept or idea based solution. They will be the ones that will take concepts and ideas of AA into realization and help it to evolve for enterprise. The most common example of their effect is Netflix, and how the AA journey there started with that one 16% person and the rest we say is history – but more importantly Netflix did not just stop there, their 16% kept on evolving and every time they opened a new cookie jar, they dived in and found something new!

Thank you 16% – we in the AA industry need you!