The HBR Insight Center highlights emerging thinking around today’s most important business ideas. In this Insight Center, we’ll take a closer look at what your data may or may not be telling you. Tapping researchers and practitioners in data science, marketing, and other fields, we’ll offer guidelines on making good use of information and turning it into profitable behaviours.
Can You See The Opportunities Staring You In The Face?
By Chris Briggs.
We all suffer from inattention blindness. We focus so intently on a particular task that we don’t notice the weird thing that’s right there in plain view. The person walking by in a gorilla suit, for example.
Companies suffer from inattention blindness, too. And in a business context, the weird thing that gets overlooked can turn out to be a crucial differentiating factor. If one company doesn’t notice it, another will—to great advantage.
A perfect example is the high-end retail company that, like its competitors, needed to close certain stores because more and more customers were buying online or via catalogue. But unlike its competitors, this company sensed that the closure of a store might have harmful network effects…