Is Your Blink Enough? Not If You’re Savvy to Big Data

March 26, 2013

Big data as opposed to gut instinct

In the world of Big Data, are you still making decisions based on your instincts? In 2005, Malcolm Gladwell immortalized the idea that you can make decisions based on your gut reaction in his book, Blink. But given the enormous shift in access to real-time data and analysis, this kind of decision-making may in fact lead you astray.

According to IBM, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data in a single day! No wonder most managers rely on their gut to respond quickly to complex problems. You are subject to all kinds of human error—things psychologists have known about for a long time like confirmation bias, anchoring bias, and just plain stubbornness. Worse, if you’re not making decisions based on analytics and data, you are probably missing trends and relationships that become obvious when you view the data as a whole. As Ginni Rometty said recently in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, predictive analytics and data are so incredibly powerful they have been proven to help police departments lower crime by 30 percent without increasing costs to the tax payer.

As Rometty points out, having the technology and metrics alone is not enough to make better decisions. First you need to assemble a relevant data engine. Equally as important, you need the skills to interpret that data.

Big Data is the future. Still willing to bet your future on your instincts alone?

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About The Author

Christina Parisi is Director of Digital Content at the American Management Association. Previously she was an Executive Editor at AMACOM Books and the Director of AMA Self-Studies.

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