Big Data of the 21st century
Elements of implicit knowledge are the key
What awaits us beyond Big Data
Cognitive science-based development
Since three years ago, we have been conducting social experiments with Toyota dealers by using a cognitive science-based system called the WorldVision and analyzing the obtained data. The dealers that have the WorldVision in place have continued to achieve record profits. The data we have analyzed may be called Big Data, considering its amount. Some people point out, however, that it is not Big Data since the factors of data and the significance of their correlations are clear. The development concept of this system is to gather a huge amount of implicit knowledge from society and find out the essence of such knowledge, which is not typical of Big Data. To give details about the development of WorldVision, we converted product information, such as that on vehicles and value chains, into advanced cognitive scientific information exploiting multi-screen images, and developed a sales support tool that enables customers to memorize such information with ease. We then built a system that links that information to key performance indicators (KPIs) and that allows each individual organization and sales person to analyze and evaluate the information in real time and make business forecasts.
Do customers recognize products?
The WorldVision is a system to manage sales process information, such as whether customers recognized the product, whether they memorized it, whether they made choices about what to buy and whether they decided to buy it. The system links KPT to structured data about when and how many times customers touched the information screen, how satisfied they were with presentations, etc. It then feeds back such data to sales people, who in turn learn and share the data.
This system is designed to fulfill three purposes. One is to improve CS by creating an environment that allows customers to correctly memorize product information themselves, choose the products they want and buy those products with conviction. The second purpose is to enable sales people to transform their successful sales experiences into structured data for analysis and future prediction. The third is to create and analyze unstructured data so as to share sales people’s success examples across the organization.
Do customers really enjoy buying products?
We asked the participating dealers to instruct their highly professional sales people to refrain from explaining about products and leave most of the product explanation to the memory tool. We also requested that they train their sales people to thoroughly improve their listening attitude and sharpen the five senses so that they would be able to respond to customers’ questions and requests politely. This may sound absurd. Members of the sales force of Toyota dealers are articulate, aggressive professionals who are capable of convincing customers through excellent conversation skills. We asked these highly skilled sales reps not to explain about products.
We did so for a reason. The sales skills that sales people temporarily demonstrate during sales talks do not lead to an increase in CS or EQ, no matter how great they are. Whether the sales person helps create a situation in which the customer’s brain enjoys the purchasing experience determines whether a relationship of trust will develop later. Many dealers have yet to solve the challenge of building a sustainable relationship of trust with customers.
What makes people hesitate when they buy products?
Before introducing the WorldVision, we asked a research team led by Professor Michiyasu Suzuki of the Department of Neurosurgery, Yamaguchi University School of Medicine, to conduct experiments to verify that customers would really be able to memorize product information and make choices and decisions. Lack of well-preserved memory makes the brain hesitate, making it unable to make choices and decisions later. When concentrating to memorize and choose, the brain experiences an increase in blood flow inside it, which causes a sudden rise in the metabolism of glucose and hemoglobin. Extracerebrally, the frontal association area generates 30 Hz gamma rays. We had these rays measured in real time using optical topography, and the results confirm that the use of the WorldVision leads to improved concentration.
Memory ability 7 times greater than that achieved with a paper catalog
The experiments also involved the comparison of the quality, amount and speed of memory. We examined the differences between the quality, amount and speed of memory achieved with a paper catalog and those realized by the WorldVision. While results varied from person to person, differences of seven times or more were observed. This means that the WorldVision enables the brain to memorize at least at one seventh the usual cost. When the WorldVision was used, the brain memorized more with higher quality and reproduced memory faster. With a paper catalog, by contrast, the brain memorized almost nothing. The brain cannot memorize text accurately without repeating the memorizing process. That is why you often cannot precisely recall what is written on the first page of a book, even if it is your favorite one.
A memorizing method called an associative matrix
The content of the WorldVision is arranged using a method called an associative matrix. It provides content streams of four categories – highlight, detail, objectivity and innovativeness – each lasting 120 seconds and consisting of 350 scenes of multiple-screen images. When a customer watches the WorldVision, the accurate, totally integrated information about the viewed content is imprinted on his or her brain. All that the sales person has to do is observe and find out which part of the information interests or moves the customer and answer his or her questions politely and sincerely. Just doing this makes the customer’s brain feel as if it has discovered remarkable information by itself despite the presence of the sales person sitting right in front.
What is innovation for an organization?
The top 20% of the sales force have success know-how of their own, and they are guaranteed to rake in good sales consistently. From an organization-wide point of view, however, the easier way to achieve innovation is by improving the remaining 80% a little. The WorldVision is intended for people who belong to this 80% majority.
Then, why is it that the best practices of the top 20% of the sales force are not shared? Beside the reluctance to teach the secret of success, much of the reason is that best practices are deeply rooted in implicit knowledge and extremely complex. Competent sales people manipulate customers at will by exploiting psychological mechanisms in an artful way. Customers do not feel scammed; rather, they are drawn to the sales pitch, sympathize with the sales person and get persuaded without showing a sign of resistance. We cannot master these exquisite techniques unless we hone our skills over many years of apprenticeship. They cannot be shared readily through mere textbook-based learning.
Transformation of implicit knowledge to data and “learning organization”
Sales people who have had successful sales experiences with the WorldVision possess implicit knowledge concerning customer facing techniques and understand when to use the WorldVision tool and what to say in order to prompt the customer to make choices and decisions. This enormous amount of information is analyzed and transformed to explicit knowledge as minutely as possible so that it is shared across the organization. Moreover, a consortium is held regularly to ensure the information is shared by dealers all over the country. Sales people can learn all these best practices on their own anytime anywhere.
The analysis of this set of data has made sales people understand the customers’ joy of recognizing products, thus helping many of them regain their confidence. Furthermore, a “learning organization” has been created where people learn the implicit knowledge of success on an as-is basis through a mutual learning process. An organization where mutual learning is encouraged promotes a feeling of trust among people.
A relationship of trust is key to future forecasts
In an aging society with a declining birth rate, we are undergoing a paradigm shift from tangible products to intangible ones. There is an increasing number of products whose value chain cannot be visualized, such as insurance and financial products and residual value loans. These products cannot be differentiated just by lowering prices or providing more convenience. They do not easily sell unless companies build a reliable channel of communication with customers.
As society becomes more computerized, resulting in less direct human communication and more lonely people, there will be greater demand in the future for truly trustworthy relationships, inspiring surprises, justice and high moral standards. Quite sentimental and psychological elements of implicit knowledge will prove key for advances in data analysis and future forecasting. This gives us a clue as to what awaits us beyond Big Data.