I love data. As an Operations Researcher, the absence of hard information drives me crazy. But there is a reason QS is limited in its application or use by the average person.
Rather than busy executives or housewives, QS has (stereotypically) attracted young techies with lots of time on their hands. They are the ones with the bandwidth to sift through new storehouses of personal data, looking for unforeseen clues to improvement opportunities.
The average busy person, suffering from sharp limits to their time and attention, needs a shortcut. One clue I’m exploring in my work comes from an insight I gained from working as a contractor at McKinsey. On their assignments, they resist the temptation to “boil the ocean” - their term for doing unlimited data mining.
Instead, from the onset of a project, they set up a small number of hypotheses and only then do they look for the data to prove/disprove them.
From their success, it’s safe to conclude that this approach works. It gives them a way to focus their attention on the most pressing issues, reducing the cost and time of assignments, making for happy clients paying very high fees.
I think the average person operates in the same way. For example, imagine that someone notices that they have been feeling tired for the past few weeks, wondering why. “Maybe it has something to do with my sleep?” he/she asks. To prove the hypothesis, data is needed… the kind that’s he/she has does not have or has ever seen.
Enter QS. Until quite recently, most people never imagined having the power to gather their own data at low cost. Now, they can answer their hypotheses and maybe even solve the overall personal problem in record time.
Once they do so, they put away their wearables and archive their spreadsheets, perhaps never to be used again. But they aren’t being ungrateful, just busy. They may quietly thank the inventor of the device, QS and their luck to be born at this time, but they move on.
This happy outcome is rare, but its extraordinary nature has little to do with QS. Instead, it’s related to the limits of human capacity.
The problem is that the average person has neither the time nor attention to set up sensors in order to data mine i.e. boil the ocean. Instead, I think the best they can do is achieve an end-point I have named “The Notified Self.”
It’s your own individual vision in which you are perfectly notified of all interruptions, alerts, beeps, popups, updates and notifications, even when they occur on different devices and platforms. At this end-point, your iPhone, wearable, laptop and Amazon Echo all act in perfect concert.
In the future, it may look something like the picture presented in this 2 minute video I just found on the HyperVoice website: https://vimeo.com/118044275
It’s awesome and inspiring… and you can see where the outcomes it portrays absolutely needs QS working in the background.
But for now, I’m just hoping to bring order to the chaos that exists for most people today. They have given up: either shutting off all their notifications or simply ignoring them. It’s a problem I describe in this rather long article - “How to Organize Your Notifications to Accomplish the Perfectly Notified Self” - https://medium.com/@fwade/introducing-the-notified-self-e2ed1390feb2#.12tb4fuos
In the article I argue that there are ways to approach The Notified Self today, without adding more technology. In fact, doing so is a must for busy professionals who could benefit from all the work being done in QS, wearable devices and other emerging innovations.
I welcome comments or questions, here or on the Medium site… plus leads to anyone else interested in this area.
Francis / @thenotifiedself