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  • Rune Elvrum

How to Avoid Devastating Ignorance!

Getting better customer insights with easy to understand dashboards, is a great tool for avoiding devastating ignorance!

Throughout his public appearances at TED and other media outlets, Dr. Roslings visualization of data on global demographics is an eye-opener for everyone. Due to its presentation of large amount of data sources, he manages to make data talk sense. I would especially like to bring your attention to one talk that was made in June 2014 at TEDSalon Berlin.

I cannot help thinking whether the misconceptions in the global scenery proven in this talk, also impact small businesses and enterprises when it comes to making strategic decisions.

One of the issues raised in this talk is that highly educated people regularly get beaten by chimpanzees (yes you read it correctly!) when it comes to answering questions about the evolution of poverty, deaths from natural disasters and female education. The misconception is elegantly proven and states three elements that cause this.

First it is our Personal bias. Your personal bias is not relevant for understanding the situation because your bias limits it, this is also why our intuition is no longer relevant when dealing in a situation we are not a part of. Secondly we base our answers on Outdated facts which were taught to us years ago. And last is News bias which creates a major footprint of events that is not part of our daily life. To make choices based on deviating events, instead of an event that is predictable to us individually, creates this misconception.

So the big question; Is this happening when we try to get insights of our customers, to help decide future investments and strategy?

  • Is our personal bias relevant for understanding our future needs?

  • Are we working with updated facts?

  • Are our external sources for unfiltered data relevant to our thought process, or is it just the partial tabloid facts that define our decisions?

In my opinion, the first step to making better and more accurate strategic decisions is by removing or decreasing the same factors that Gapminder and Dr.Rosling point out. Better customer insights, with easy to understand dashboards based on updated data sources or data streams, is a great tool for avoiding devastating ignorance. It is likely that over time, your personal bias and intuition will probably increase in tolerance when dealing with real facts.

Hans and Ola Rosling: How not to be ignorant about the world

The power of data is demonstrated by the late dr. Hans Rosling and Gapminder (

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