With digital activities it is becoming increasingly easier to measure stuff, but this comes with a great caveat. The simplicity of measuring the simple stuff is removing us from exploring the difficult stuff and by that discovering what’s really important.
To me this can be exemplified by two facts:
- 1. The focus is on measuring the movement patterns instead of our ability to influence these patterns.
2. People don’t know what they want, stop asking them and start understanding them. (As we have experienced in a survey where respondents valued usability more than usefulness when asked what’s important with a web service.)
But we already know that we are filling peoples minds with our prefabricated arguments pro or con a service or applications abilities that they themselves had never spent an inch of attention on thinking about. But this is only one side of the problem…
The other part of the problem is that as we are getting more and more used to the mechanics of measuring the simple stuff it is getting more and more difficult to explore new ideas. We are becoming idiots instead of wizards and fail in demonstrating new values from new concepts that increase brand or marketing value through different mechanics and dynamics.
Over at Zeus Jones’ blog Adrian Ho writes up some great thoughts on measurement:
- I now realize that’s the wrong question. I think that we can’t recognize what’s important until we start to measure it, and equally, we only see importance in the things that get measured. – Adrian Ho
This idea I feel is in relation to, and builds nicely on top of John Steel, who last summer said:
- “I also think we should be angered by the accountability mindset that means we’re making more and more decisions based on what can be measured rather than what’s really important.”
In my mind we are starting to build stuff based on what’s cheap, fast and what we are already used to measuring, not what’s really important. As we are moving from messaging to services, from unwantedness to creating deliberate value, measuring the wrong stuff will cripple our ability to demonstrate the value of our new activities and ideas – and we will stay stuck in an old world.