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    Why We Need Data and Intuition

    Why we must balance data-driven insights and trusting our gut feelings to make better decisions.

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      Vaughan Broderick

      Vaughan Broderick

      Hey friends 👋,

      In today’s data-driven world, it’s easy to believe that we need more and more information to make informed decisions.

      Data has become the holy grail of decision-making, from business strategies to personal choices. However, in this relentless pursuit of data and analytics (including algorithms and AI), we often need to pay more attention to the power of intuition.

      Today, we will explore the importance of embracing our intuition and why we must balance data-driven insights and trusting our gut feelings to make better decisions.

      👨🏼‍💻 The Limitations of Data

      Data undoubtedly provides valuable information, enabling us to uncover patterns, trends, and correlations that would otherwise go unnoticed. It fuels evidence-based decision-making and helps us make objective choices. First, however, it’s essential to acknowledge the limitations of data.

      Firstly, data can be overwhelming. With the advent of disruptive technology like the internet and now AI, we are drowning in a sea of information, bombarded with statistics, reports, and studies. Amidst this information overload, it becomes challenging to distinguish the relevant from the irrelevant, and we risk losing sight of the bigger picture.

      As my design thinking mentor often says, “That’s TBU” (true but useless).

      Secondly, the data is retrospective. It tells us what has happened in the past. But it cannot predict the future with absolute certainty. Trends change, new variables emerge, and unexpected events occur. Relying solely on data may prevent us from adapting to emerging circumstances and seizing opportunities beyond the scope of data analysis.

      Think about this in terms of strategy. If we are considering a new market, we cannot guarantee what worked elsewhere will work in the new market (regardless of market research). So instead, we need a more emergent strategy to adapt to information as it comes to hand.

      Initially, we must consider:

      • What would have to be true for this idea to work?
      • What capabilities might we need?
      • What are the critical barriers?
      • What experiments would we need to test our theory?

      Then, using intuition and reason, make a choice based on what option the most compelling argument can be made.

      🧠 The Power of Intuition

      Intuition, often called a gut feeling or instinct, is our innate ability to make decisions based on our sense of a situation, even without concrete evidence. It draws on our subconscious knowledge, experiences, and emotions, allowing us to tap into a wealth of information that may not be quantifiable or measurable.

      Intuition can provide a unique perspective that complements the limitations of data. It allows us to consider factors beyond the numbers and embrace the art of decision-making. When we trust our intuition, we can:

      1. Uncover hidden insights: Sometimes, our intuition can guide us towards the answer that data alone cannot provide. It can reveal connections, possibilities, and solutions that lie beyond the reach of analysis. By trusting our intuition, we open ourselves to new perspectives and innovative approaches.
      2. Navigate uncertainty: In a world of ambiguity and complexity, relying solely on data may lead to paralysis by analysis. Intuition empowers us to make decisions when faced with incomplete or conflicting information. It helps us navigate uncertainty and take calculated risks that can lead to breakthroughs and success.
      3. Embrace creativity and innovation: Intuition and creativity go hand in hand. We can unleash our imagination and explore unconventional ideas by tapping into our intuition. Sometimes, the best solutions emerge not from rigid data-driven analysis but from a spark of intuition that ignites a new path forward.

      🦉Striking a Balance (Wisdom)

      While intuition holds immense power, balancing data and intuition is crucial. According to Jürgen Deters’ (Professor of Human Resources) recent paper on selecting talent, harmonious integration can lead to more holistic decision-making. Here are three tips to achieve balance:

      1. Cultivate self-awareness: Developing self-awareness allows us to understand our emotions, biases, strengths, and limitations. It helps us recognise when to rely on data and when to listen to our intuition.
      2. Validate intuition with data: While intuition is valuable, it should not be divorced from reality. Use data to validate and substantiate your gut feelings. Seek evidence supporting your intuitive hunches and combine it with logical reasoning.
      3. Practice mindfulness: We often ignore our inner voice in our fast-paced world. Practising mindfulness and quieting our minds gives time and space between stimulus and response.

      That’s all for today friends!

      Thanks for reading and I’ll catch you next week.

      Keep future-state thinking, 👋

      Vaughan

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