The Coming Revolution includes Web Analytics and … Bauhaus

Sometimes, I get ideas from other things that don’t appear related, at all, like  Eric T. Peterson’s post about “are you ready for the coming revolution?” and an exclusive, press only invite to Bauhaus 1919-1933 Workshops for Modernity @ MoMA that I attended today.  Eric would say, I’m sure, there’s no relationship, but there is, because I made a connection and bridged two totally different currents that really aren’t so different; and, what I mean.  Eric wrote this:

I’ll cut right to the chase: I believe that we are (finally) on the cusp of a profound revolution in web analytics and that the availability of third-generation web analytics technologies will finally get digital measurement the seat at the table we’ve been fighting to get for years.

Statistics, people … statistics and modeling, predictive analytics based on web data, true forecasting, and true analytical competition for the online channel. Yahoo’s use of confidence intervals when presenting demographic data and the application of statistical models in Google’s new “Analytics Intelligence” feature are just the beginning. As an industry it’s time to stop fearing math and embrace analytical sciences that have been around for longer than many of us have been alive. It’s time to stop grousing about how bad the data is and actually do something about it.

Today, as I visited MoMA to view the Bauhaus, I noted, Bauhaus  started with with the goal of challenging traditional hierarchies  placing fine art (painting, music, dance, photography) on the same footing with architecture and applied design (ceramics, textile design, furniture design) – information evolved in workshops instead of studios – each containing a crafts person and an artist – along with students.

When I saw this diagram, above, on how materials were designed, I thought about the physical structure of the Bauhaus building – where training was provided in 6 areas, sculpture, metalwork, cabinetry, painting and decorating, printmaking and weaving, according to the diagram above, promoting a unity of all those things – elevating none of them over each other.

Getting back to Web Analytics turning into Business Intelligence – Eric T. Peterson pointed out that  …..

The current state of digital analytics is untenable over time, and Web Analytics Demystified believes that companies that persist in treating online and offline as “separate and different” will begin to cede ground to competitors who are willing to invest in the creation and use of a strategic, whole-business data asset. These organizations are using third-generation digital analytics tools to effectively blur the lines between online and offline data—tools that bridge the gap between historical direct marketing and market research techniques and Internet generated data, affording their users unprecedented visibility into insights and opportunities.

This white paper describes the impending revolution in digital analytics, one that has the potential to change both the web analytics and business intelligence fields forever. We make the case for a new approach towards customer intelligence that leverages all available data, not just that data which is most convenient given the available tools. We make this case not because we believe there is anything wrong with today’s tools when used appropriately, but because we believe digital analytics should take a greater role in business decision making in the future.”

One of the challenges of studying history is applying it to the current time.  Bauhaus was one way of saying that if you approach problem solving and creativity as a team – where all team members are equal, and learn from each other, the result, product, and satisfaction of people on that team, will be greater than if the team operated in Silos.

But most teams are siloed, and companies I’ve worked for, and most that I know of, Silo product development, online marketing (including SEO, SEM, Banner Ads and Partnership deals), web design, ad creative, content creation, Public Relations, site usability, site analytics, e-commerce, web programming, database programming, lead generation, etc.

But ….. the “Bauhaus experiment” suggests what I have thought all along, that silos, while appearing to solve business problems, actually make them worse.

What if the original diagram of the Bauhaus curriculum by Walter Gropius, first published in the Statures of the sate Bauhaus in Weimar, in 1922, looked like this, today, in the modern Digital Workgroup?

bauhaus test

What if … everyone who worked in the team had to, at least, partly, walk in each other’s shoes?

Tonight I was at the Sunshine Yammer + CRUSH IT! party w Gary Vaynerchuck! – Gary said, in  his typical way, that when he was a small business, when he was starting out in what he has become so famous for, he had to “do everything” – but he always followed his passion and did what he loves the best – and when he could afford to, he delegated what the didn’t want to do, to others.   But before delegating anything, he did enough of the work to understand what he was delegating.

In the modern corporation, people are hired, still, for the special skills they have, but the Bauhaus was designed to pair up people of different disciplines – and made no distinction between creativity and craft – they merged.

Looking at it in a different light – today, if you asked someone – who does society value more – a computer scientist or a fine artist, society will usually (but not always) go with the scientist.  But what Walter Gropius tried to do was show that treating these as separate, giving some more “weight” than others, was less useful to society than if we put all of it on equal footing and let it take off.

And, last month, at OMMA Global, attending a session of Top Social Media Case Studies in 2009, one of the panelists mentioned creating new teams comprising a Web Analytics Guru, Creative Person and Community Manager - which sorta of, in a very basic way, mirror the ideas I put forth here.

So, I maintain, that what Eric Peterson is moving towards, put another way, could well find a working model in The Bauhaus – but re-interpreted for 2009 – the one thing the MoMA show does not attempt to do.

Check out my entire post when you have the time ….Bauhaus 1919-1933 Workshops for Modernity @ MoMA

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1 reply
  1. Nancy A says:

    YES!! Thank you for drawing this parallel. I am on your bus. Integration of media and cross channel data analysis are key to understanding; Brand perception, product strengths (and weaknesses), high performance creative, testing, modeling, predicting and of course media mix optimization. An equitable and holistic viewpoint of media efforts is attainable and necessary in today’s cluttered media space. Add to this the cross functionality and interactivity of horizontal team members and you never know what untapped talents you may have on your side!

    Those who can grasp this “Bauhaus” concept will gain a competitive edge and finish the day stronger and better positioned than those who do not. Bravo to you for truly stretching across media lines to present this level of understanding of our “craft”.

    And Eric is absolutely right – stop fearing the math. If you embrace it your job will be much easier!

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