While the use of big data played a big part in making Upworthy—which is dedicated to making important stories go viral—one of the fastest-growing media companies ever, emotion was just as big, according to Critchfield.
"Using your emotions as data is so worth it," she said.
The secret to Upworthy's success in proving you can make more than cat videos go viral included:
• Thinking divergently. Upworthy promoted creative thinking with tasks such as writing 25 headlines for a story to find the one that connects best with an audience.
• Understanding there is more going on here. Content won't go viral unless there's a real, underlying connectedness to the story.
The key word in social media—a big part of Upworthy's success—is social, not media.
• Leaving the 1950s behind. The outdated paradigm in the business world is to prioritize logic over emotion.
However, both should play a role in the modern business world.
• Embracing data but staying human. Lacking data, a tyranny of subjectivity prevails. Bringing data into the board room gives your members a voice.
Data that isn't grounded by emotion, however, is worthless and would be impossible to translate into action.
Critchfield's talk focused on the CO-OP-defined megatrend of "Ubitech"—the ubiquitous technology that transforms consumers' daily lives.