Cognitive Businesses

Cognitive Businesses

Businesses, good ones, are made up of people.

And when anyone tries to automate the role of people, a slightly metallic taste springs forth to the palette.

The collision of technology and people is vital for future innovation, so we need to find a solution for the inherent tension that’s created between these two approaches.

So how do we express this concept thoughtfully, without a bitter taste, and find the sweet spot between buzzword and amateur sci-fi fanfic?


A thinking business

The concept of a “cognitive business” lassoes together ambiguous yet beautiful imagery of a business that thinks.

Through business intelligence software, the cognitive business extends the human capacity to reason and reconcile information.

For Tech Futurist Daniel Burrus, the cognitive business works more like a smart human being rather than a smart computer.

“A computer can analyse information from a wide range of sources and offer invaluable scientifically backed up advice with an element of reason, but the onus remains in the hands of the user who understands the art of their profession and can add the secret ingredient of creativity that only a human can bring to the boardroom table,” he writes.

This echoes an anecdote from physicist Victor Weiskopf in the mid 20th century.

Victor worked with students who only used computers exclusively. The students ran algorithms and data through the computers; the computer then did the thinking, and produced the result. It was fast, and it was powerful.

But Weisskopf knew what was really happening.

“When you show me that result,” Weisskopf once said to a student, “the computer understands the answer, but I don’t think you understand the answer.”

Both approaches are true — without a human interface injecting understanding and creativity, data shows a result but is almost impossible to put into application.

Human Analytics

We really like the applications of creativity and technology, and think it fits in well with our focus on Human Data.

Human Analytics acknowledges the very important fact that data originates in people. In order to respond to living breathing people, businesses must become living breathing things.

Lexer helps our clients to understand, learn from, and reason through enriched human data in real time. Once this process is enmeshed into the very fabric of the organisation, that’s when our clients become truly cognitive businesses.

Learn more about how our Solutions team are helping our clients deliver a data-first operating culture here.