At matrimony.com we started a new cool group called the Insight Miners. I am often asked a question why are they called so when the usual nomenclature may be Data Miners or Business Analysts.
Well, I think it is an oxymoron to call them data miners? What is the necessity to mine soil? One mines for precious things such as diamond or insights from soil or data respectively.
I also have another reason why I would prefer to call them Insight Miners. Data usually tells what has happened and rarely why it has happened so. For e.g., at matrimony.com we collect information whether a male member is a regular smoker, an occasional smoker, or a non-smoker. One of the insight miners came up with a very counter-intuitive data on preference of women. They preferred, of course, a non-smoker the most. But surprisingly, the preference for ‘occasional smoker’ was lower than that of ‘regular smoker’. This piece of data became an insight when a separate short-survey revealed why women preferred so: they thought men who declared themselves as occasional smokers are actually not so honest. Data becomes an insight when such causal relationships (i.e. answering why) are established.
The short survey was not the first thing that occured to us when the problem surfaced. Several probable reasons were put forth. In psychology, insight is the sudden discovery of the correct solution following incorrect attempts based on trial and error. This is just like the way one mines for diamonds.
So what does it take for an Insight Miner to succeed?
Of course, the basic is data mining 🙂 One becomes an amateur with skills in logic, deduction, induction, etc. But it takes a lot more to become a pro.
A pro is when one has broken functional fixedness, has spatial ability and has verbal ability! What are these?
Breaking functional fixedness is when one uses objects in a way not accustomed to. Suppose you are given a candle, a match box and a set of pins/tacks. Your job is to light the room by attaching the candle to a wall.
Spatial ability is when one can think outside the box for solutions. Example, connect the nine dots without lifting the pencil and using no more than four lines. The nine dots are in three exactly parallel rows with each row having three dots. Or imagine a square with dots occupying the corners and centers of each side. The ninth dot in the center of the square.
Verbal ability is to actually connect seemingly unconnected words. Crosswords are good examples. Consider connecting the three words – aid, rubber, wagon.
If you have not cracked the above three…read my next post (and desist from applying for an Insight Miner’s post at matrimony.com).