From Big Data to Big Insights

Ever had the feeling you’re being swamped with information? Ask a simple question and you get a simple answer. With a spread of a few dozen responses, you can extrapolate and act on the trends you see. However, as your network of contributors grows, you get lots of simple answers. Eventually, you hit a point where the responses cease to be useful information supporting decision-making, and become blinding streams of data. Data is raw, unorganised fact, and the volumes of data processed through online communication and modern technology are so overwhelming that the necessary analysis becomes too much for one person.

Seeing the wood for the trees

Big Data is a great new buzz word that we hear all around these days. It’s cool, it’s something out of science fiction, it’s the future….. Well, not really: it’s something many organisations are struggling to manage here and now.  Back in 2010, this report by Avanade on the Business Impact of Big Data showed that 56% of the executives surveyed felt overwhelmed by the amount of data collected by their company – and many delayed decisions as a result of too much information. In 2013, Science Daily reported that 90% of the world’s data had been created in the preceding two years.  If the executives in 2010 thought the problem was bad, by 2013 the volumes they experienced had increased by an order of magnitude, and there is no sign of a slowdown.  How do you move forward when data is blinding you, and you can’t see the wood for the trees?

Community as a Data Processor

Big data requires big processing capacity to draw insights – but processing capacity isn’t only found in computers. A community is your own data processor, using the power of people to make sense of the trends, and the internet has given us the tools, for the first time in human history, to unite vast communities. If there is value in the analysis, you can harness the power of a closed expert network to reach conclusions and consensus on the data that pours through. This crowdsourcing model has been used on a global scale by the Zooniverse project, too, using ‘people powered research’ to find trends and exceptions in huge volumes of image data.  Whether they are finding exoplanets or tracking migration patterns, Zooniverse relies upon the intelligent analysis that only people can provide.

This is the methodology adopted by risk analysts Intelligence Fusion: with a vast amount of data available on incidents and attacks across the world, the Intelligence Fusion community contributes, analyses and forms consensus on trends and risks. They are using their community to turn Big Data into Big Insights.

Intelligence Fusion founder Michael McCabe told us: “There is no other platform collating as much information as Intelligence Fusion on Iraq and Syria, and this volume comes with its own analytical challenges.  However, the community that has formed is processing and making sense of the data and delivering an unprecedented level of detailed decision-making information to the market.”

How could a community deliver your big insights? Take charge of the potential of big data, and make life-changing decisions.