Our Thoughts

TLF Gems Newsletter February 2020

6th February 2020
Your monthly CX and insight update from TLF Research


“We tend to assume that all items on a list are equally important, but usually just a few of them are more important than all the others put together.”

Hans Rosling, Factfulness


I wouldn't quite call it a prediction, but one thing I hope to see over the next few years is a tempering of the hype around new technologies, which I believe will lead to a more mature view of their potential.

That's not to say that data, machine learning, and digital won't have transformative effects - they will, for all of us. But AI is not as smart as the media paints it to be, implementation is a lot trickier than many vendors would have you believe, and there's often a need for some traditional know-how and experience to get the most out of the results.

Good integration, systems thinking, and designing backwards from the customer experience are all essential if these new technologies are going to be anything more than an expensive red herring.

Thanks for reading,




Stephen Hampshire

Client Manager, TLF Research




Here's 7 things we think are worth your time this month...




This New Scientist article covers the news that Dominic Cummings is recruiting "weirdos" (i.e. unconventional thinkers with data science skills), believing that applying machine learning to government data has the potential to transform policy making. Getting the right data and interpreting it correctly is the difficult bit - I agree with Jeni Tennison of the Open Data Instutute, who comments "We need social scientists, not just computer scientists."



Gartner report that a majority of organisations expect their investment in CX to grow in 2020, mainly because they feel able to prove to the board that it's worth it. "Those that are able to tie investments to the organization’s goals and returns tend to get more resources and create better outcomes for the organization, its customers, and its stakeholders."

Interesting article looking at some of the retailers investing in their physical stores, particularly when it gets to the reasons why. "...it all comes back to the experience. If the experience aspect is missing, the consumer will simply skip the store and shop online."
Read: Bricks & Mortar Growth




TED talks have their flaws, but I think it's great that we have the opportunity to listen to experts distill their own work into a bite-sized format. We watch one on the first Tuesday of every month, and this time we chose Dan Ariely's talk on what makes us feel good (or bad) about our work. "Ignoring the performance of people is almost as bad as shredding their work in front of their eyes.
Watch: Dan Ariely on Motivation



Researchers mapped the risk of diabetes in East London, and weren't surprised to see a strong link to deprivation. What was more shocking was the close correlation to a similar map of poverty made at the end of the 19th century. It's a good example of how important looking at geography is if we want to understand people, and that with the right data we can hope to do something to make lasting change.
Read: The Persistance of Deprivation




We love a good book, but did you know that, among other benefits, just 6 minutes of reading before bed can reduce stress by 68% and help you get to sleep? "...those who read consistently exhibit significantly greater memory and mental abilities at all stages in life. They’re also better public speakers, thinkers and, according to some studies, better people in general."
Read: The Benefits of Reading Before Bed

Visual thinking seems to be getting increasingly popular, but Dan Roam's book was one of the first to push the idea that sketches (not just polished visual slides) are a great way to think through and communicate ideas in business. "Visual thinking means taking advantage of our innate ability to see - both with our eyes and with our mind's eye - in order to discover ideas that are otherwise invisible, develop those ideas quickly and intuitively, and then share those ideas with other people in a way that they simply 'get'."
Top Reads: The Back of The Napkin
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