Innovation is a human activity, involving both the brain and the gut. Rely solely on your brain (data), and you will miss opportunities. Rely on your gut (intuition), and you will chase your tail while even more opportunities slip away.
You Need Both
I believe and teach the practice of looking at data and letting the numbers speak. Nevertheless, I also believe in the genius of the gut, connecting numerous seemingly unrelated data points and assigning meaning, in order to create something entirely new.
As Steve Jobs observed, creativity is simply connecting things. Data provides the raw material that your brain can identify and sort. Then, your gut can identify the patterns and trends, and assign meaning to it all.
So, I encourage you to step back from your data, grab a cup of tea, and give your intuition a chance. It takes guts to use your brain, and it takes your brain to use your guts!
And while you’re drinking that tea, check out this great article in Inc. by Julie Loffredi: