What Matters: 8 Enlightening Lessons about Data and Entrepreneurship from Marcia Tal

I have worked in large corporations, and I am growing my own company. I have learned that both environments require a strong vision and a solid business model for optimal execution.

To make an impact, tenacity and passion are necessary, as are effective data analysis, creativity, and experience.

These attributes served me well last year. In 2018, I discovered why an established corporation may seek expertise from a small company. I learned that while the terms, “machine learning” and “artificial intelligence” may fill your newsfeed, they may not always be the best solution for your business. I found new and innovative ways to effectively pinpoint negative feedback. I understood why companies may choose to share their data.

In 2018, I grasped more about what truly matters to my clients and to me — in data, in business, and in entrepreneurship.


Artificial Intelligence (AI) and People: They’re Complementary

“The real problem is not whether machines think but whether [people] do.” – B.F. Skinner

I embrace human-centered design.

In this Framework issue, we explore two very different articles that ponder the relationship between people and AI, which is complementary. The first one: “Why Algorithms Will Never Be Better than Humans,” by Jonas Altman — reinforces the importance of “mavens.” The second — “Smarter together: Why artificial intelligence needs human-centered design,” by Jim Guszcza — offers an in-depth analysis of the evolving relationship between people and AI.

Business leaders who embrace human-centered design focus on the needs of the people they serve, what problems or desires this group has, and then use technologies to design solutions which address these. Here are some thought-provoking ideas and insights into how to leverage this philosophy in your organization.


Video: Customer Voice, Data and You—Creating a Powerful Future

Customers have always complained. And always will.

Their voices have never been louder. Complaints about products and services are more public, with far-reaching consequences. And the cost of ignoring them in the financial services industry continues to increase.

How much do you really know—through facts, data and analysis—about your customers’ complaints?

In the video below, I share actual customer complaints (raised to the CFPB) within an analytic framework for complaint detection and prediction.

Apply this robust and multi-dimensional framework to analyze what your customers are telling you. You’ll uncover new opportunities from using science, listening to consumers’ voices and always being human!


The Surprising History of Customer Complaints: What Changed, What Stayed the Same and What This Means for You

“They have failed to provide what they have promised. Their offers … were definitely misleading and inappropriately handled. The whole experience is taking forever and getting worse … every time I talk to them.”

“My biggest complaint is the harassment and how they would talk to me. They never told me about any way to help me payoff [sic] the account … Today I have finally paid the account down so that I can be rid of them.”

“I feel taken advantage of–I want my money and am so tempted to pull all funds and sew them in my mattress. If a ‘big bank’ can not [sic] protect my money which we worked hard for, then what are we, the general public, supposed to do???”

Customer complaints are as old as time. While these three are excerpts from genuine customer complaints, they have a lot in common with those dating back thousands of years.

The reasons people complain have stayed the same. What has changed is the way these complaints are expressed. They have evolved with changes in the way people communicate and advances in technology—and have influenced how we handle complaints today.


Does Human Resources Need to Be Agile?

A survey of 1,000+ business leaders worldwide by the Conference Board says attracting and keeping talented people is the biggest concern for CEOs. But you knew that. What may be new is how leading companies give themselves an edge by taking ideas from agile technology and applying these to talent management.

We’ve heard—and repeated—the mantra that businesses need to develop products and services faster. That employees need to work rapidly yet efficiently. That business groups can’t afford to work in siloes.

For me, this dates back at least 20 years. At Citi, we introduced cross-functional teams and identified domain experts who could move from one team to the next. That’s how we were able to execute challenging initiatives across a global organization. We identified people whose expertise was both broad and deep, and asked them to work on complex projects.

Agile has now given us words, and better systems and processes, for what we were trying then. Short projects, called “sprints.” Team meetings to solve problems, called “scrums.” Evolving new approaches, called “iterations.” And apps to monitor and communicate progress.

Here are three thoughtful articles from The Harvard Business Review, under the headline of “The New Rules of Talent Management.” Discover how organizations from Bank of Montreal, to IBM to ING are implementing an agile mindset and methodology to create better workplaces, foster innovation and improve their top and bottom lines.