March 31, 2020No Comments

The value of fact-based decisions in times of crisis

"I've been in this business for 20 years and I've never seen anything like this before. Our revenue has decreased with over 90% and it's uncertain when and if it will go back to normal again. What should we do?"

 

We received a call last week from one of our clients, in which they expressed their concerns about the current market situation. As we are all being affected by the spread of covid-19 in many ways, it is easy to relate to the unfortunate and distressing situation that many businesses are facing today.

Six months ago, climate change and extreme poverty were two of the major global threats on the world agenda, however the world is currently facing another enemy, which is the global pandemic caused by the fast spreading coronavirus called Covid-19. Not only does this pandemic pose a threat to many people’s health and lives – it has also turned out to have big ramifications on the global economy, on politics, societal functions and the livelihood of countless people, resulting in mass unemployment.

Companies and business leaders are currently faced with a great level of uncertainty and are forced into quick decision making in order to survive, why access to relevant and accurate information is necessary. The stakes are high, and decisions made today may impact many employees, customers, owners, suppliers and business partners for months or even years to come. How we deal with information is therefore crucial for making well guided decisions.

 

How can we ensure that information is being processed correctly in order to maintain a balanced perspective, when we are overwhelmed with information from different sources, often influenced by a high level of fear and urgency?  

 

When analysing information it's important to be aware of potential biases and data gaps. The book Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World - and Why Things Are Better Than You Think, written by Hans Rosling together with Ola Rosling and Anna Rosling Rönnlund in 2018, describes the pitfalls of interpreting information and the principles presented in the book are relevant for supporting fact-based decision-making.

For instance, there are three key things that are emphasized in the book to help us maintain an accurate view of the world:

  1. Realize that we don’t see the world as it is.
  2. Recognise what types of stories trigger our dramatic instincts.
  3. Use simple rules of thumb to resist over-dramatic stories.

One of the core messages in Factfulness is that it's easy to misinterpret information about the world, leading to an overdramatic worldview. The reason for this is not necessarily because the information we receive is wrong, but rather because it's taken out of context or only one side of the story is being presented. It is true that the situation we are currently facing is serious, but it is in uncertain and frightening times that it is even easier to make hasty and drastic decisions based on misinterpreted information.

Given our experiences from working with data-driven organisations and decision-making, it's very clear that our instinctive behaviours as humans and the way our minds function sometimes get in the way of drawing accurate conclusions based on data. Even organisations that have processes and tools in place for utilizing data effectively, experience challenges in interpreting data and turning it into fruitful actions.

If we revisit our client, who experienced a dramatical stagnation of revenue due to the current Covid-19 crisis: how could they implement a fact-based approach when deciding what actions to take? Here are some thoughts and suggestions:

1. Look at your options

No matter how grim the situation, there are always options. What are your options, and what are the implications? Developing and analysing different scenarios, not forgetting to take several perspectives and consequences into account is a good starting point. It is easy to make the mistake of only considering a problematic situation from a certain perspective and therefore disregarding potential consequences in other areas.

2. Check your information

What information do you have right now and what information do you need in order to make an informed decision? How can you bridge the gap? How reliable is the data you have and where does it come from? Does your organisation have access to data and analytics tools that can provide a new perspective? If you do not have it in-house, can you get the support or analysis externally?

3. Insights

Are you generating valuable insights to lay the foundation for better decisions? How do you connect the dots? What context are you putting the information in? It's important to keep in mind that the situations we're facing today are extreme and not necessarily the new normal. That doesn’t mean inaction is the way to go, but it is also crucial to maintain the long-term perspective of what to do when the circumstances stabilize again. Advanced analytics can support in providing actionable insights.

4. Action

Information should lead to action, otherwise you’re doing something wrong. If your insights are not actionable, the analysis may not be right. Sometimes more information can leave you feeling confused, but that is when data analytics and methods to interpret and present information can be useful.

5. Rear-view mirror

What do you see when looking in the rear-view mirror? Was the decision you took right? Have your received new information which should lead you to change the decision you made? If so, do that. When working in a data-driven way, the key is to continue to evaluate and measure success. What effects did the actions you took have on your business and performance? Feeding these insights into the loop are crucial for future decision-making and to improve the process.

At Cartina we help clients improve their decision-making processes. We do this by means of advanced analytics and digital transformation (e.g. with BI, AI, agile ways of working), information management, as well as understanding changes in customer drivers and behaviours to plan for future scenarios.

Do you want to discuss your plan to counter this crisis?

We’re here for you!

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

You can find more information about Factfulness and the 10 Rules of Thumb to keep your dramatic instincts in check here: Gapminder.org

May 23, 2019No Comments

Reframing Formats – Trend #6 of 6 from SXSW 2019


In 2018...

We were seeing a lot of immersive technologies such as VR & AR and how it can be used to enhance reality.

In 2019...

We talked about different formats and new augmented experiences – signalling that our digital behavior has matured.


Curation & limitation

Having reached a certain level of digital maturity, living in, and being used to, an era of connectivity and infinite choice, consumers and recipients are changing expectations and becoming more receptive to information in new formats.

In order to cut through the noise and earn trust in distrustful times, selection becomes imperative. Too many choices can feel overwhelming, and the value of what we consume tend to decrease – meaning instead that the value of curation skyrockets. By communicating scarcity, you can give the perception of a more well-selected content and, consequently, quality.

Gwyneth Paltrow spoke about how the customer is the core of her company goop, whose whole business basically is based on curation over many domains. Building fewer things, but better, is a key to success.

Founders of the new entertainment platform Quibi argue that we are often handed music, movies and TV-shows in a selected, curated way – but for information, we still have to search and are presented an incomprehensible mass of options. Something that they are determined to change.

Historically we look for finite. Our brains are programmed to look for things that end.

- Neil Pasricha, author, entrepreneur, public speaker

Timing is everything

While traditional novels come in chapters of 20-40 pages (a 30-minute read), the “Da Vinci Code” was unique in its style of five-page chapters (a 5-minute read). The author’s rationale was that people have time constraints, and so presented them with the book in a way they preferred to consume it.

By targeting the consumer within new time frames, in more convenient ways, and meeting them where you previously have not can be beneficial. Quibi targets users between “7 and 7” (note: 7 am and 7 pm) with an enhanced video experience on mobile, speaking to consumers in a new domain, in a new way.

This can also be powerful through audio, as that only requires the attention of one of our senses as opposed to video. Podcast producer Gimlet created a toothbrushing experience for children, taking advantage of the universal 2-minute activity by providing an ongoing series of episodes through Alexa. Thereby finding a unique way into their consumers’ every day.


Curated content in a non-traditional time slot

Meg Whitman and Jeffrey Katzenberg introducted Quibi, which is targeting their customers between 7 and 7 with a highly curated content video content, meeting their users at a new timeslot with a new product


The power of storytelling

Storytelling is a powerful tool to make us believe. Rohit Bhargava shared some examples of how greatly executed storytelling has been used as powerful marketing tools, for which audio and voice are relevant formats. With the rise in voice-activated devices and digital assistant, we are in the second golden age of audio. Just as most brands have elaborate visual style guides for how they act and communicate, there is now a need for brands to develop audio style guides.

This also becomes increasingly important with the evolution of podcasts, where more were created in 2018 than any year before, signaling a potential for the market of voice-based marketing. For a successful voice and storytelling experience companies should keep in mind why people like to listen; they like being told a story, learn something new and the idea of companionship (people simply want someone to hang out with).

As a storyteller you have a powerful way to reach consumers, marketing and advertising needs to utilize this. As a listener, you are cocreating the experience by hearing the sender’s voice allowing you to imagine them in your head.

Ads should not feel like ads but should instead add to the experience which is why brands need to speak in a voice that relates to consumers and puts them in a desirable state.

Blurred lines

Dawn Ostroff, Chief Content Officer of Spotify, say that over time, 20% of what is available on Spotify will be non-music content, and that today those who listen to podcasts spend twice as much time on the platform. Spotify recently acquired Anchor, a podcast-creating tool, and Gimlet, a podcast producer, which allows for creation and curation, meaning that more people than ever before can create, monetize on and discover relevant podcasts – creating a transformational entertainment experience.

Quibi aims to work together with all the major production companies to develop content and thus not compete with other kind of streaming services, combining formats, genres and segments.

The DJ Marshmello hosted the first ever live virtual concert inside the video game Fortnite, which resulted in more than 10 million spectators and a huge demand for his merchandise and music.

The above examples illustrate how breaking traditional formats can allow a brand to reach existing customers more effectively and also to find new, untapped, customer segments. The success of such campaigns signals a new level of digital maturity – where users are more receptible to new and converging formats, and companies can move between online and offline in new ways. This creates a new playing field for consumer-interactions.


Creating a new scene

Marshmello/YouTube.com

DJ Marsmello held a live concert in the video game Fortnite, drawing more than 10 million attendees


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SXSW is one of the biggest digital conferences in the world, and a global meeting place for the world’s most innovative technology companies and people interested in how disruption can transform their business and everyday lives. The event takes place during during 10 days each year and this year Cartina had the chance to be part of it.

This series consists of 6 global mega trends that business leaders, experts, innovators and disruptors talked about during the days in Austin.

Visst borde fler läsa detta? Glöm inte att dela!
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May 22, 2019No Comments

Empathic Interactions – Trend #5 of 6 from SXSW 2019


In 2018...

We were discussing human senses going digital, and how we will be able to enhance our senses with the help from technology.

In 2019...

We speak about discovering opportunities to capture peoples’ emotions at scale and use them to inform your business decisions.


Adapting to values-based buying

Businesses are experiencing a significant move from a rational-based buying behavior towards a values-based one where customers move to brands with which they can relate and build a relationship with.

Gwyneth Paltrow shared her ideas on building a successful organization where your culture is your business plan. Culture however is an expanding term, what is inside your organization now also influences your customers.

Also the definition of a customer is experiencing a significant shift. Today, many companies are so eager to learn how to predict their customers that what is called the “The Keanu-Reeves role” has emerged, meaning that if you do not have an online personality you will be assigned one. Many are going so hard at designing online personas and optimizing towards these, that the real person, the real customer that they want to engage with is lost.

Emotions as KPIs

Whether it is in your internal culture, or in your communication with your customers, understanding what feelings and emotions arise can be the key to understanding the intrinsic motivation and intention behind certain actions.

Jared Feldman, CEO of Canvs AI, remarks that there are 42 main feelings that humans express on social media, and their goal is to make it possible to capture, identify, and measure these.

What does it lead to? Brands can (and should) create content based on a set of emotions that they want to trigger, ultimately allowing us to leave CPM* as a KPI for communication. Imagine defining your next marketing campaign or a certain interaction point in your customer journey as: 47% love, 30% passion, 13% goosebumps and 10% crazy.

* Cost per thousand impressions (technically, “Cost Per Mille”)


Clearchanneloutdoor.com

Clear Channel analyzed the mood in the Stockholm’s metro, digitally and through sensors, and displayed a corresponding art display.


The human body becomes the source of data

Consumers are not only using text to share their deepest thoughts about your business, but also their bodies. The signals that our bodies give off in certain environments and situations can tell an incredibly rich story and with new technologies that can retrieve these data points, at scale, we are opening the door to understanding and interpreting people as never before.

By listening to the tone of your voice, instead of what you are saying, or measuring the size of your iris, companies are gaining a deeper understanding of the relationship between how our body reacts and certain feelings we feel.

In China, we are already seeing supermarkets with cameras that interpret customers’ behavior in-store and soon we will be able to connect the shopper’s emotional state to their consumption behavior, and of course be able to present something perfect for just that occasion.

Our spaces will know more about us than we do and we will have a dynamic relationship with spaces where we work, train, heal
and live

Poppy Crum, Chief Scientist at Dolby Laboratories and an Adjunct Professor at Stanford University

Experiential data 

Once we explore the feelings and emotions behind our customers’ actions, generating so-called experiential data points, we will want to relate these to more traditional business metrics.

The experiential data points are likely to be connectable to at least one operational data point making it possible for us to drill down from our financial targets to what feelings drive that specific measure and consequently how we need to adjust our marketing, content, interactions or communication towards our customers.

The challenge here lies in whether your organization can be bold enough to become truly customer centric.

Building an empathetic enterprise

If we can now understand the true feelings of customers, we can also create a much more empathetic relationship with the actual person, not the digital avatar. Interacting with your customer where they are emotionally, at any given point, and building a more empathetic and values-based relationship was something various speakers presented as a great opportunity.

This exemplifies that empathy can become a point of differentiation for products, services, recruitment, innovation and revenue creation.  Ultimately it is something that makes your brand follow customers in their journey to more values-based buying decisions.

It will not take long before we see product tags with “Made in China” being changed to “Made with empathy”.


Enterprise Empathy

Volvocars.com

Volvo is introducing in-car cameras to read the driver’s eyes and face to prevent sleeping behind the wheel or driving under influence.


The starting point 

To get to the point where you as an organization can interact with a new level of personal data, it is imperative to create a data-driven work place. Representatives from Tableau presented their view on a data driven organization, as one that prioritize data over intuition in decision making, where developing a coherent governance structure is necessary to develop other core competencies within the organization. Whether you want to use more real time data in your models or if you want to use experiential data, the competencies to do so will evolve from a clearly defined governance structure.

The notion of being a data driven organization has existed for a while, but in a survey made by New Vantage Partners among senior C-level executives 69% report that they have yet to become data driven and 72% still do not have a “data culture”. What is missing in these cases is reportedly not the hardware or the software, or even the data, but in 93% of the cases it is the identifying the right people and the right processes that is the obstacle. Focusing on this, there is a huge potential to unlock the value of better-informed interactions with your customers.

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SXSW is one of the biggest digital conferences in the world, and a global meeting place for the world’s most innovative technology companies and people interested in how disruption can transform their business and everyday lives. The event takes place during during 10 days each year and this year Cartina had the chance to be part of it.

This series consists of 6 global mega trends that business leaders, experts, innovators and disruptors talked about during the days in Austin.

Visst borde fler läsa detta? Glöm inte att dela!
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May 9, 2019No Comments

Humane AI – Trend #4 of 6 from SXSW 2019


In 2018...

We were talking about machine rights and when machines will overcome humans.

In 2019...

We are exploring ways to help create AI with good intent and impact, and the move towards multiple versions of the same product.


The biggest issue in AI today 

We are seeing a huge change in the dialogue about the bias issue when it comes to the development and scaling of AI and ML-technologies. It is in fact now a public dialogue. Only two years ago this was a concern mostly debated by researchers but now, having opened the door (even if only very slightly) to the negative consequences that might evolve from these systems, it has become a more widespread concern.

In discussing this issue, there are two main aspects that are being considered when talking about “the biggest issue in AI today”: How do we ensure we have good intent and how do we end up with a positive impact when developing new technologies?

These questions were discussed in many settings during the conference but with one clear take away: We need to change our mindset from innovating new AI-systems at all cost to start innovating for the wealth of the people. The technology is mature enough for us to use it properly.

Douglas Rushkoff, author of the book Team Human, expressed it in a blunt fashion: “Instead of creating technologies for people to use, we created technologies that use people.”

When I think about responsive machines it is not enough to remove the bias, we have to tell the machines why this bias is wrong. If we really aspire to build good robots we want that system to understand why something is wrong.

Aleksandra Przegalinska, Assistant Professor at Kozminski University and Research Fellow at MIT Sloan School of Management

DSaaS - Data sets as a Service

One inherent issue surrounding the bias-discussion lies in the fact that a data point is nothing more than something that someone thought was worth capturing. In this sense, all data contains some kind of subjectivity and thereby it will contain bias.

What we see now is that large data sets that are publicly available and for free, such as the emails from the Enron scandal, are being used to train models. In this case, if we want to create a model that is able to communicate as a white male, in his 40’s, and with a somewhat clouded judgement - that could be a good source of data. More likely, it will cause these algorithms to be biased and ultimately lead to morally questionable outcomes and harmful decisions (think for example about Amazon’s experiment with a recruitment tool that was found to not be gender-neutral).

Herein lies a challenge for which we will likely see (and will like to see) many new service offerings – Data Sets as a Service. Tiffany C. Li, a technology attorney and legal scholar, suggested a potential solution in allowing for some sort of licensing or copyright law for data sets to be provided as a product or service, with the ultimate goal to improve their quality. Or is the right way to go to introduce auditing parties that, as an objective third party, can control both data sets and models for potential unwanted bias?

What is Humane?

Granted that we find a way that successfully address the bias issue, the next question to ask if our goal is to develop “Humane AI” is: what is humane? In our interaction with these types of systems, we are looking for two aspects: It needs to be helpful and appropriate.

We have reached quite far in making AI helpful. It can guide us through the streets, it can recognize patterns and cats in pictures and it can help us predict deviations in production systems (and of course many things in between) but it is not nearly as good at knowing when to do it.

If an AI-system is something we are going to interact with, it needs to know if I really want it to correct me when I tell my kids that you can get cramps if you go swimming right after a meal or if it should “let it slip”. A lot of this is given away by the tone of our voice, by our facial expressions and gestures, but this input is not something we have figured out how to interpret on a large scale.

What we will see is a great deal of experimentation on this and the success will all boil down to how much trust we have in these systems. The more we are willing to share in terms of input, the more accurate the output will become.


What is appropriate? 

Image: 9to5mac.com

Thinking about when we want AI to intervene was a question for many speakers. How do we get it to behave differently when I’m in my car alone versus when I’m with my kids?


Beyond personalization

One intriguing topic touched by many speakers was that we are moving towards a time where simple personalized products and services are becoming personalized for all versions of its user. Because ultimately, what might make a system feel humane is that it changes with you.

As much as we ourselves are wrong in everyday decisions and comments, we need to allow our AI to be wrong as well. Not only does it create a more dynamic interaction but it will also be what helps your system get to know you.

Compared to the discussion around automation and autonomous systems, where much of the conversation was held around how and where we should build the collaboration between humans and machines, when AI was the outspoken topic most speakers took a more speculative approach in reasoning about how to find this next level of understanding in these more advanced systems. Finding this level and adjusting the systems accordingly will be a huge thing moving forward.

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SXSW is one of the biggest digital conferences in the world, and a global meeting place for the world’s most innovative technology companies and people interested in how disruption can transform their business and everyday lives. The event takes place during during 10 days each year and this year Cartina had the chance to be part of it.

This series consists of 6 global mega trends that business leaders, experts, innovators and disruptors talked about during the days in Austin.

Visst borde fler läsa detta? Glöm inte att dela!
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May 9, 2019No Comments

The rules for automation – Trend #3 of 6 from SXSW 2019


In 2018...

We talked about Data integrity and how we need to protect ourselves from big players using or selling our personal data.

In 2019...

We were talking about Data for automation, discussing how to best approach automation in a way that fosters human value and robot-to-human collaboration.


Automating our own value 

The fear of automation greatly disrupting labor markets has been increasingly tangible, and something that many speakers decided to approach in various ways. Some with concern, some with the sense that “We are all being promoted”. From the more politically engaged speakers, there is a case being made that we are currently defining ourselves as the economic value that we create, and that we are now making human labor less and less essential to the economy.

Google’s Chief Decision Scientist Cassie Kozyrkov firmly disagreed, arguing that it would be foolish and meaningless to create machines and artificial intelligence that would compete with human skills, human values and human needs. Instead we need to find how technology can complement us, in such a way that we can do what we do best, and technology can do the same. What we need is not more competition, what we need is more tools to leverage our human skills.

The chatbot of our dreams 

As the use of automation tools becomes more wide spread, people start to adjust to this. For example, if you are using a functionality that “optimizes” the time at which you send out your weekly newsletter emails, they might just arrive at the same time as every other non-personal email to your recipients’ mailbox. Instantly, they might get categorized as unimportant and moved to the trash folder.

For some information or experiences to reach all the way through, we might want to amplify the human touch. In this example, pressing the send-button yourself at an irregular time can increase the chances of your email being read. In some cases, it may be the opposite.

One study presented by Aleksandra Przegalinska, a philosopher and researcher at MIT, found that a simple text bot with no human resemblance provokes almost no emotions in the human it is interacting with. However, one with clear human traits (think Sophia the robot) evoked a lot of emotions. But they were negative ones; people felt much more unease interacting with the more human chatbot.

What does this tell us? That we want to carefully select what we decide to automate and consider what we want to alleviate in the interaction with customers or users.


Alex - The robotic news reporter

Image: bbc.com

Russian news channel Rossiya 24 have created a robot – Alex – reading some of its news bulletins.
The question is: Which emotions is he creating for the viewers?


The state of play

As users of, or friends to, automated systems it seems that we want to know when we are interacting with one. The separation between human-to-human contact and human-to-machine contact makes the experience different. It also differs in what context or mood we are in.

A representative from Slack shared their approach to finding out in what situations their users enjoy interacting with machines. Turns out it is when we are in a so-called state of play. When someone adds their 23rd reaction to a certain message in Slack, you can be rather sure that they are not busy doing some important work – this has proven to be a great point at which to introduce a machine that initiates contact with the user.

Identifying situations where users are more receptive and open to machine interactions is an important part of developing a good system design.

Slack interacting with their users in a State of play

The human-machine collaboration

Whether it is in the context of autonomous vehicles, chatbots or any other automated system, we are facing some tricky but important challenges to create a system that is helpful.

One being the need to consider how these systems learn and adapt over time. They are in many ways adaptive to their environments, just like humans, and if your company decides to employ a chatbot in customer service you need to not only think about the technology but also how to ensure that it stays true to corporate values and has some integrity in its interaction with customers and users.

A second one is that when building large-scale autonomous systems, human interaction in combination with these systems is likely to make them deviate from the most optimal functioning. We are seeing increasing numbers of autonomous cars trying to be introduced to the roads and one issue is how they are to collaborate with human drivers. This will evolve beyond our roads and into our organizations as well, which is why we need to evaluate both where to take advantage of automation but also how to design this interaction.

If our employees and/or customers are interacting with a system, there are multiple dimensions that, positively and negatively, affect the outcome of this. Being aware of this when structuring the systems we should consider whether we want this to be a fully automated process or one with human touch points, as it greatly affects the optimal design. A better design will increase the level of trust in a system and ultimately, with more trust, we can be comfortable releasing more data to it and subsequently improve its ability.


According to Aleksandra Przegalinska there are three important dimensions in building a trustful collaboration between a human and a robot:

  • Transparency -- Honesty: The agent is what it is and does not pretend to be something else. It does not deny its status
  • Predictability -- Integrity: Seen as a factor associated with credibility, and concerns the trustors’  expectation that an object of trust will act consistently in line with past experiences. If the user perceives the chatbots as predictable, this may lead to a feeling of trust in the chatbot
  • Control -- Benevolence: The degree to which the motivations and intents of the trustee are in line with those of the trustor

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SXSW is one of the biggest digital conferences in the world, and a global meeting place for the world’s most innovative technology companies and people interested in how disruption can transform their business and everyday lives. The event takes place during during 10 days each year and this year Cartina had the chance to be part of it.

This series consists of 6 global mega trends that business leaders, experts, innovators and disruptors talked about during the days in Austin.

Visst borde fler läsa detta? Glöm inte att dela!
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Cartina has since 2013 helped both multinationals and startups translate digital opportunities into lasting and profitable business. We have since the start mainly worked with management services but are now expanding our offering with tech & design.

With a desire to develop oneself, clients and colleagues, our team of several senior digital experts take pride in delivering sustainable solutions that matters for our clients and society. 
Cartina is founded and owned by the investment firm Acacia Asset Management AB together with partners in the firm.


Contact

Cartina
Hamngatan 15, SE-111 47
Stockholm, Sweden
Tel: +46 (0)8 703 25 10
info@cartina.se