All About The Past

Harvard Business Review: You Can’t Analyze Your Way to Growth
Roger Martin on why analysis sucks:

The fundamental reason is that analysis of data is all about the past. Data analysis crunches the past and extrapolates it into the future. And the past does not include opportunities that exist but have not yet happened. So, analysis conspicuously excludes ways to serve customers that have not been tried or imagined or ways to turn non-customers into customers.

Why not focus on appreciation:

If instead, the core tool is not analysis but rather appreciation –deep appreciation of the consumer’s life — what makes it hard or easy; what makes her (in this category) happy or sad — there is the opportunity to imagine possibilities that do not exist.

For instance, suppose your consumers have to clean floors. It’s easy enough to appreciate that mopping a floor is a fairly miserable task. Think about what it involves: getting out and filling a bucket, dragging the bucket around and repeatedly jamming the mop in and out of it, and then dumping out and cleaning the bucket. If you appreciate your floor-cleaning customers, you’ll be looking to help them avoid having to go through this experience every time they have to clean a floor — because not every floor will need such a heavy-duty approach. It was out of this appreciation-triggered insight that the electrostatic Swiffer anti-mop was born and produced massive top-line growth, approaching $1 billion in sales in a decade.

This why analysts are completely useless gamblers. Betting on what could be based on the past. Analysis has no room for the curve ball that is innovation. Innovations are what come out of appreciation. Henry Ford said if he had asked people what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.
Analysis can only imagine faster horses, they can never imagine cars.
via Clayton Christensen