Curiosity Breaks The Silence

In today's BI world, we follow the scent of an answer and that leads to the survival of our jobs.


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A very interesting article by Ian Sample in the Guardian talks about how the brain’s dopamine reward circuitry fires up when people get curious. Now of course this is nothing new, we all know that if information piques our interest we are more likely to retain it than if the subject matter is of no interest to us.

So how does this transfer in to the BI world? In two ways really, first by making the data interesting and this can be done by creating eye catching visualizations which show the data in a new and novel way and the second by letting people explore in a way that interests them and not using a forced predefined path. I am sure you can think of many other ways but let’s just concentrate on these two in this blog post. Both of these equate to different parts of the brain. For the visual stimulus we look to the Parietal Lobe which interprets signals from vision and the data exploration is mostly carried out by the Temporal Lobe. Please remember that no part of the brain is mutually exclusive and can actually when damaged transfer functions to other parts of the brain.

If you are only stimulating one part of the brain and not the other you are losing out on a vital part of the puzzle and not fully utilizing your brain to its full effect and sooner or later this will be found out and lead to disappointment. It’s like seeing a beautiful house and finding out it is just a cardboard facade.

Many thousands of years ago we would follow the scent of our prey and this would hopefully lead to dinner and survival now we follow the scent of an answer and that leads to the survival of our jobs. It’s not as life and death as it was then but the reward system that pumps dopamine in to our brain is exactly the same and the feeling of goodwill and achievement is exactly the same.

As part of the design of Qlik Sense we collaborated with Ustwo the creators of the award winning game Monument Valley. This taps into the same reward circuitry by harnessing drive and motivation to make use of the software more rewarding and encouraging creativity, it’s a simple fact that if we are enjoying what we are doing we will do it more. No matter which way we look at this we need to harness ancient circuitry and recreate the feeling of accomplishment that has vanished in the world of corporate software design. Let’s have fun at work and by having fun we will explore and discover so much more.

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