Zoom Out, Don’t Stress Out With Informed Action

This article was written by Qlik and originally appeared on the Qlik Blog here: https://www.qlik.com/blog/zoom-out-dont-stress-out-with-informed-action


If we were to summarize the last year in a word, “uncertainty” would certainly be a big contender. How to manage that uncertainty and thrive within it is not a new phenomenon for companies, but I would challenge anyone to argue that it hasn’t taken on a life of its own in recent times. As the IMF reminds us in its latest update of the World Uncertainty Index, that uncertainty hasn’t just been driven by a global pandemic. US-China trade tensions and Brexit negotiations have been just as much to blame. The “good” news is that the historical high of uncertainty in 2020 is declining back to more normal rates – that is to say, still plenty of uncertainty.

Businesses continue to face questions and challenges, such as how climate change could affect their customer base, supply chain or operational capabilities? Could a poorly funded start-up take advantage of cheap capital to undercut their products or services?

As Dr. Vikram Mansharamani, global trend watcher and lecturer at Harvard University, reminds us “sitting on one’s hands is not a viable business strategy.” Writing in the new magazine from Qlik, Active Intelligence, he states that “leaders should embrace a strategy of navigating uncertainty via ‘informed action,’ the strategic use of analytics to actively extract insight from data without blindly referring to it.”

It’s all about keeping one eye on the big picture and remembering that context matters.

“Focus is a two-edged sword. While we rarely consider that ‘focusing deeply’ is equivalent to ‘broadly ignoring,’ an inappropriately tight focus might lead us to miss insights lurking in the shadows just outside of our spotlight.”

In a time of greater than usual uncertainty, it’s easier than ever to find comfort in focusing in on one thing. To have that place of known, of safety. But just as animals use their peripheral vision to spot danger or opportunities, business leaders need to embrace their peripheral vision and adopt a culture where informed actions are taken based on real-time, hyper-contextual information – what we at Qlik call Active Intelligence. That insight lurking just at the edge of your vision could be the one to change the shape of your company or a particular direction. Which is why Vikram makes such a compelling case for zooming out to observe the bigger picture, to help business leaders not only see the context but also insights via multiple perspectives. As he puts it – “informed action allows stressed-out leaders to make zoomed-out decisions.”

If you are interested in learning more about why we need to learn to think for ourselves and keep technologies and experts on tap, not on top, then I urge you to have a read of Vikram’s article.

Plato said, “a good decision is based on knowledge and not numbers.” Vikram shows you how to get to that knowledge.