It’s “business UN-intelligence” without intuition, insight, and inspiration

The little joke among people who first hear of business intelligence is that it sounds like an oxymoron. But now someone who’s high on my list of experts in this industry, a founder of data warehousing, has used it seriously in a challenge to the business intelligence industry.

Barry Devlin writes in a blog post, “Much of the business behavior I’ve encountered has been far from intelligent.”
No argument there. He keeps going. “What about intuition, insight or inspiration? Should we not also consider social aspects, given that business is largely a collective, collaborative venture?”

I like it. It’s all in the first blog post of a series that introduces his forthcoming book, Business unIntelligence: Insight and Innovation Beyond Analytics and Big Data.

His post explains his term “business unintelligence.” Business does a poor job of business intelligence, he writes. Decision makers don’t make use of the evidence they’ve got, and they ignore psychological and sociological underpinnings. “Clearly, this is unintelligent behavior by business.”

On first encounter, this may sound like a negative phrase. But slowly, gradually, it also became clear that Business unIntelligence is precisely what business today needs in order to benefit from extensive information, adaptive process and the strengths of actual people. Rationality of thought and far beyond it. Logic of process, predefined and emergent. The confluence of reason and inspiration, emotion and intention, collaboration and competition–all that comprises the human and social milieu that is business. Not business intelligence. But Business unIntelligence. Insight and Innovation beyond Analytics and Big Data.

You can read Thomas Frisendal’s review and see Barry’s presentation at BrightTALK Business Intelligence and Big Data Analytics Summit. You can also pre-order on Amazon, as I have. It’s available in mid-October.


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