Intuition vs Data

I have a distinct perspective on the relationship between intuition and data. If you're a designer or a product manager, you probably share this sentiment.

Presenting numbers tends to garner more agreement in a room than presenting ideas that rely on imagination. Objectivity is often valued more highly than subjectivity.

Have you noticed that discussions based on facts and data are easier to gain support for, while ideas that are imaginative and creative take much longer to gain traction?

This behavior is a product of our default human nature. As Sapiens, we start with zero trust and are slow to build it. We are skeptical of everything, particularly when the person presenting ideas lacks credibility. Even if you're credible and your ideas are subjective, they're harder for us to comprehend and accept. Objectivity, whether it's based on data, models, or patterns, is more easily trusted.

However, there is a downside to this way of thinking.

When we focus too heavily on being objective and data-driven, we may miss out on the value of intuition and belief.

When you're building something new, there are no patterns or past data to rely on. All data is from the past, and we don't have data from the future. Predictive data is just speculation, even if it's presented confidently.

This is why it's harder to get buy-in for design-based ideas compared to metric-based ones. Expecting a room full of people to tune in and imagine is a recipe for failure.

Only when we have a culture of believability, we can begin with intuition and end with evidence.

This is also known as hypothesis-driven leadership.Embrace intuition, but back it up with evidence progressively. The journey of this process can be heaven or hell, depending on your current culture

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