Trust Your Instincts: Why Data Isn’t Enough

“There is no prescribed route to follow to arrive at a new idea. You have to make the intuitive leap.” – Stephen Hawking

Big Data is hot and it’s everywhere. Every serious company is digging into the possibilities and opportunities that big data can offer them.

Last week I was speaking at a conference at the number 1 topic was “How can we use big data to our advantage?”. It was almost as if everybody would be missing out if they didn’t jump on big data NOW.

Sure, data can help every company to incrementally improve anything.

Sales closing efficiency, customer satisfaction, cost of production, errors rates, the supply chain for the food you eat – they were all improved 10.000 times over the last couple of years through the effective use of data.

But it’s not enough.

The point I also made last week is this: data provides us with incremental growth; it measures what we’re already doing. It does not, however, tell us anything about what we’re not seeing yet: the blindspots, the breakthroughs, the insights, the “ahaa!” opportunities and as Archimedes would have said the “Eureka!” moments.

Data doesn’t do that.

That’s why we need you to leap. To leap without the sufficient data, or in spite of the data. We need you to go with your humanity and learn to trust your instincts and your hunches.

In an age where science is king (if it can’t be measured, it’s not real) this is a counter intuitive thing to say, but we need our humanity most now.

Artificial Intelligence is another hot topic these days. Here’s my prediction: no AI, not now and not in the future, can replace a person who trusts their instincts and hunches.

Learn to trust your gut; it’s the most natural thing.