2040’s Ideas and Innovations Newsletter, Issue 24: Decision Making in a Digital Age

Decision Making in a Data Driven Digital Age

Intuition, Human Bias an Behavioral Defaults

The Argument for Data-Driven Decision Making

  • Data enables clear, evidence-based-focused goals.
  • Accuracy and objectivity can help to preclude human biases, institutional filters, and false assumptions.
  • Insights from data offer a real-time and historical snapshot of the decision-making rationale and help keep the leader’s vision dynamic.
  • Leaders who effectively leverage big data, structured and unstructured data, as well as robust operational information, can stay ahead of the curve and be prepared for uncertainties within an organization, its capacities across its operating systems and the market it serves or intends to serve.

Data-Driven Playbook

  • Identify Data Champions
  • Recruit Younger Employees
  • Data Literacy
  • Get Buy-in from Your Sales, Marketing, Product, Experience, and Finance Teams
  • Use a Single System
  • Data Fluency and Definition
  • Technical and Process Standards

The Argument for Intuitive Decision Making

  • Could more data actually help you pick the right option? If your organization is considering a new product idea, for example, you can do market research and assess your competitor’s offerings — but that information won’t guarantee that people will buy your product. In a situation like this one, you may consider the data at hand and then rely on your gut.
  • The second factor is the context of the problem you’re facing. If successful mental models and schemas exist for this kind of decision, it’s probably a good idea to use them. If you’re trying to differentiate yourself from competitors who have followed those models, gut instinct may be the way to go. And remember: Intuition draws on the objective and subjective information you already know — so your gut feel is, to some extent, data-driven. If data has already been available and you and your organization are data-driven, intuition is more informed.

Leadership Decision Making in the Digital Age

Data and Intuition on the Balance Beam

Situations favoring data-driven and intuitive decision making:

Data-Driven Decision Making Situations

  • Conflict Resolution
  • Properly Defined Goals
  • Structured and Processed
  • Big-bet Decisions
  • Infrequent and Unfamiliar Situations

Intuitive Decision Making Situations

  • Quick Decisions
  • Ambiguous Situations
  • Unstructured Problem Solving
  • Ad-hoc and Daily Decisions
  • Familiar Situations



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Kevin Novak

4X webby winner, CEO and Chief Strategy Officer @2040 Digital (www.2040digital.com), IADAS Member, Speaker, Author, Science Nut