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Big Data Question 1

Sander Duivestein
June 15, 2012

Consider: Management style is said to undergo a complete transformation with the emergence of the Big Data paradigm.

Will facts now definitively defeat intuition?

About the author

Trend Watcher – New Media, Trend Analyst VINT | Netherlands
Sander Duivestein (1971) is a highly acclaimed and top-rated trendwatcher, an influential author, an acclaimed keynote speaker, a digital business entrepreneur, and a strategic advisor on disruptive innovations. His main focus is the impact of new technologies on people, businesses and society.


    5 thoughts on “Big Data Question 1

    1. Yes, management style will be influenced. But I don’t think facts- versus intuition-style or man against the machine is the most importnat debate. The managers as distributers of information, the info hub, will disappear. We will need less managers, and succesfull management means managing knowledge networks. Computer AI will support decision making, but in a world where everyting that can be known will be known “intuition” and “sense making” are becoming more important in my opinion, not less important.

    2. Dit is een van onze websites (totaal ong. 60).
      Aan het nemen van besluiten zal niet essentieel iets veranderen. De feiten en gegevens worden de basis van het nemen van besluiten, zoals dat altijd al is gebeurd. WEL zal de impact van de genomen besluiten groter zijn en dus de NOODZAAK om juiste gegevens te hebben waarop die besluiten genomen worden belangrijker zijn. OOK zullen er minder besluitennemers nodig zijn omdat vraagstukken geconsolideerd kunnen worden tot (in aantal) minder besluitbare onderwerpen omdat veel zaken het gevolg zijn van een besluit en niet meer apart besloten hoeven te worden (gevolgen/consequenties die leiden tot impliciete besluiten).
      WAT NIET ZAL (MAAR VOORAL OOK NIET MAG) gebeuren is dat de data de besluiten neemt (zoals je zou kunnen concluderen aan sommige vertalingen van het big data vraagstuk). Indien dat wel het geval is, dan is de mens overbodig.

    3. One thing is sure: someone will have to make the decision, as always.
      That it will be based on facts coming from big data analysis is quite sure, but we will also face lots of data quality issues, possibly leading to serious false positives and executives will have to educate themselves on such aspects. Live by the sword, die by the sword.
      I would say intuition or facts. I’d favor the following approach that works pretty well:
      1) Do I have a clear view on what this issue is about and the options? [facts]
      2) Is my gut telling me that this is workable? [intuition]
      If 1) and 2) are yeses, then, I can move on, provided the risk assessment is in the “prudent risk” zone.
      Big data is a tool. And with great tools, 50% of the job is done. Remains the other 50 😉

    4. This depends on which way we compare them, here a few perspectives:
      It depends on:
      – How much intuition will develop in the human individual, and how it will develop in societies.
      – How this New Era of information will develop in the analysis of data or macro-data-information.
      – How intuition is employed and whether we run our lives prevalently on rationality, intuition or both in different proportions of each.
      – How consistent is our view of what is going on in the world, and how much we think our decisions can influence that currrent or probable reality.
      – Whether we consider that the New Era of Infotech has already overwhelmed our lives or not, that is to say, whether we manage data or data is modelling us already.
      – Whether we will be able to predict why certain changes occur (e.g. change in preference of one company to another) intuitively, or whether the facts will tells us that this will happen.
      We could also make an analogy on whether Industrial development (as big data) will surpass intuition?
      – In which case we could say that the industrial development (technology) has surpassed and overwhelmed the human mind at times and maybe even caused the procrastination of intuitive development or intuitive abilities.
      – Or we could say that our intuition could play a bigger part if there were more awareness and ethical conduct in a favourable context.
      – Another point of view would be to think that intuition has already been used or missused or unsused, bringing about the current problems of our times. (Eg. Problems in relation to environmental care).
      – A different point of view can lead us to understand that intuition has brought about the individual geniouses to develop technology and therefore big data.
      Humour: (This question seems very much like whether who came first the egg (intuition) or the chicken (facts) ?).
      We can also think that intuition and big-data-management heve things in common, like dealing with variables which are more dynamic. Variables which contain in itself huge amounts of information which are dependant on individual choices, for example, choosing the perspective (or the glass upon we look through) on a specific theme, which is in terms, a variable itself. This variable can change aswell making a very complex matrix of dynamic variables, which crave for clarity and proper understanding.
      There are methods of measuring the spiritual development worldwide and the reports point out that their is a huge step manking needs to take to reach a society where the pillars of it are wisdom, development of spirituality/ intuition, ethics being the core values. So from this point of view data surpassed intuition already.
      If intuition and data are merely considered as tools to embrace information, in which the individual or the company decides when and how and conciously behaving and thinking in good faith, (considering ethics, and respecting the environment, and the wellness of the whole system in which we are inmersed), then intuition has won it’s place now and in the future above information technology.
      Another perspective: Our current databases indicate that we have enourmous amounts of poverty, slavery and abandonment in the world, which is a vast number constituting a big demographic sector, which is not active in the social-tech-media for example. So we need to watch that we do not forget to consider this group of individuals, which could in turns be a vast majority. That is to say, let’s not state Universal Truths straight away. We are dealing with parial truths so far. In the future these individuals might of might not be part of the stadistics, and this is a variable in itself. Besides there might or might not be more intuitively developed people in this demographic sector than in others.
      Veracity is another variable. In short, it means that certain individuals behave in certain ways in social-tech media, than in their everyday lives. And its complex to introduce veracity in choice as part of the stadistics, we evaluate in terms of truth.
      Our present choices are a variable in itself to influence the facts of tomorrow.
      Intuition and facts go hand by hand, let’s make the best of it!

    5. Good discussion, good paper too by the way.
      I think big data and intuition are not competing on a exclusive basis:
      1. It takes intuition besides deduction and induction to ask the right questions, translate them in Big Data initiatives and come to meaningfull conclusions. This is true for all science, even though the Wired article ( has a point.
      2. As Carr pointed out, Google may make us more stupid, and less prone to think for ourselves. In that case Big Data will make thinking – and intuition – even more important.
      3. Big Data is mainly for Big companies, with Big data quantities and Big Money. From a systems thinking perspective: if data replaces intuition in Big companies, chances are that the big ones will be replaced by the not-so-big ones. (This point seems paradoxal if not self-contradicting 🙂 )

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