For example for too long, traditional market researchers have indulged themselves in a methodological arms race which presumes that new data is almost always the answer, rather than find new ways to analyse the datasets they already have.
For users and vendors alike the truth is the same – rather than look at existing datasets afresh or rethink how we manipulate them to see what we can glean, most of us instinctively rush to collect new – fresh – stuff. Which is a shame because – given the right kind of analytic curiousity – we can all learn a lot from examining the "free stuff" that's all around us, using the kind of [See for example the paper John Kearon and I wrote this summer Download BrainJuicer Paper – Me-to-We Research]
Also, if you're going to be at MRS this March, I'm pulling together a bunch of smart social scientists to share their [Darwin-based] analytic tools for understanding mass behaviour. Download Jan 8pp prog_low res-1 And – if there's enough interest – we'll organise something separate around the time to explore the subject in detail.
Equally, I've been struck how people like David Bausola and The Kaiser are experimenting with putting the "hosepipe" of exhaust data that e.g. Social Media creates to good use in for creative and entertainment purposes. And – as will be revealed in due course – for other purposes, too…
Think about it in terms of sustainability: rather than rush to new data or fancy tools, what can you do with the exhaust? With the stuff that everyone else (including you & me) throws away?