SOURCE: The Boston Consulting Group

The Boston Consulting Group

December 11, 2013 09:34 ET

Go Beyond Analytics: Maximizing Big Data's Potential Demands Systematic Creativity, Says Boston Consulting Group Author of "Thinking in New Boxes"

Companies Need to Change Their Mindsets and Throw off Existing Beliefs About Their Organizations to Get the Most out of the Tidal Wave of New Data

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwired - Dec 11, 2013) - Companies are gathering ever-vaster treasure troves of data: It's coming in great volumes, in great varieties and at a great velocity. And, as a recent Boston Consulting Group report pointed out, even more information becomes available to companies that excel at building trust with customers, and overcoming their privacy concerns.

This onslaught of big data begs the question of value. How can companies truly maximize it? Traditional routes involve strategy; advanced analytics to help increase efficiency and processes and generate new business insights; and transformational ways of using data to drive better decision-making and operating models and revenue streams.

But that only gets done part of the job of mining big data's value. Practical creativity -- which entails stepping out of our existing mental models and into new ones, i.e., thinking in new boxes -- is also essential, according to Alan Iny, senior global specialist for creativity and scenarios at BCG and co-author of the new Thinking in New Boxes: A New Paradigm for Business Creativity (Random House, 2013).

"Getting a company to look at the data it has always had, and the new data it is getting, in new and creative ways can lead to unanticipated insights about customers, the business and the future. For instance, executives might want to go through the process of using its data to deliberately challenge the assumptions of the type of company they run. This kind of exercise and ideation can lead to creative changes in business models and ways to generate revenue from the data that might otherwise be overlooked," said Iny.

"For instance, a bank, with the information it has about millions of depositors, might change its mental model from 'we provide banking services' to 'we hold lots of information about people and their finances' It might then be able to benchmark people who opt-in -- and proactively offer their customers 'investments people like me make' or give them information on 'how often people like me change their jobs,'" according to Iny.

Another practical and creative step this payroll provider -- or any other company with rich data -- might take is to ask itself, "What would Google do if they had our data? Or Facebook? Or 3M?"

"We're convinced that if any company privy to big data -- healthcare providers, insurers, tech companies -- were to go through a process of practical creativity that leads them to think in new 'boxes' about the information, and doubt existing beliefs about themselves, they would open up valuable avenues, like new businesses, new revenue streams and maybe even the next incarnation of their company or industry overall," Iny said.

To download a copy of The Boston Consulting Group's Report "The Trust Advantage: How to Win with Big Data," please visit

To speak with Alan Iny or Luc de Brabandere, or to obtain a copy of "Thinking in New Boxes," please contact Frank Lentini of Sommerfield Communications, Inc. at (212) 255-8386 or

About the Book

Thinking in New Boxes offers readers a practical guide to unlocking breakthrough creativity: what it looks like, how to achieve it, and what to expect from it. It also provides powerful new tools to improve the creative process, whether for individuals, teams, or entire organizations. Learn more at

About The Boston Consulting Group

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is a global management consulting firm and the world's leading advisor on business strategy. We partner with clients in all sectors and regions to identify their highest-value opportunities, address their most critical challenges, and transform their businesses. Our customized approach combines deep insight into the dynamics of companies and markets with close collaboration at all levels of the client organization. This ensures that our clients achieve sustainable competitive advantage, build more capable organizations, and secure lasting results. Founded in 1963, BCG is a private company with 78 offices in 43 countries. For more information, please visit

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