I certainly didn't invent the term actionable data, but I'm not sure where I first heard it. One of my biggest frustrations is perusing data that is not actionable. Argh! What a waste of time. I'm not interested in trivia, I am interested in getting great products to market.
In the innovation space, customer surveys are some of the worst culprits of useless data (not to mention misleading data, but that's for another post). Why? Because surveys are great at looking back in history, not about looking forward. When surveys actually monitor trends, then things start to get interesting. Now you start to have some data points that can identify behavior, which allows one to make decisions. Next time you see some data and start to collect or analyze it, ask yourself... what is it about this data that could be actionable.