Data Blindness: Why We See Data And Don’t Act

Data Blindness: Why We See Data And Don’t Act

Don’t miss the big picture.

In London, hotel windows are sealed tight in the winter. Recently, I walked into a hotel room and immediately smelled something … off—even foul, like an animal died somewhere unreachable. The odor dissipated after a little time, so I thought nothing more of it and went to dinner. But when I came back, there it was again.

The odor never actually left the room. What disappeared was my ability to recognize it. In a way, so-called neural adaptation can extend to the digital world as well.

People can become blinded by data, and large volumes can increase data blindness in decision makers. So, by exploring the root causes of such data blindness, the effort could give organizations a significant analytical edge.

How To See Data More Clearly, And Use It More Effectively

Neural adaptation may be one reason investors pile into stocks with obvious problems. Or why an incumbent underestimates the threat of something new. Another form of data blindness results from a series of false positive alerts, like fire alarms, that discourage people from taking decisive action. This is one reason perfectly good cyber security alerts often go unheeded.

Unfortunately, overwhelming data volumes force many projects to spend most of their resources processing and charting data, with little left to focus on decisions. Data blindness can result from many factors, some neurological, others cultural. Collectively, these factors impede our ability to act logically.

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