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When Do You Have Enough Data?

December 14, 2010  

Scott Anthony recently spent a week visiting four Fortune 100 companies with combined revenues of $300 billion. And in each of his discussions he noticed a common theme: how to support innovation with data. "I was particularly struck by this question: 'How do I know when I have too much data and I can stop doing research?'" he writes at Harvard Business Review, noting his regular readers will know the answer.

"The odds are pretty high that if you're thinking about that question, you already have too much data, and need to shift your focus to acting on the data."

When you've reached data overload, you might find more useful insights by:

  • Talking to customers
  • Developing prototypes
  • Sharing prototypes with customers
  • Filling gaps in the leadership team

One way to gauge the efficacy of your quantitative research, Anthony says, is to compare the pre-launch expectations of your last several products or services with their actual performance in the marketplace. "Odds are the resemblance is loose at best, particularly for ideas that are innovative with a capital 'I,'" he writes.

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