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Data Is Like Knowledge, Gut Is Your Wisdom: Ankur Sethi, CEO & Founder, Corporate Shiksha

“Machines are self-learning and can give accurate data. You can even add biases to the decision-making ability of machines," added Sidharth Balakrishna, CEO, SITI Cable and Zee

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At the BW People CEO Conclave in New Delhi, there was a panel discussion on ‘Rationality vs Going with Your Gut!’, which was moderated by Salil Kapoor, COO, Voltas UPBG Div.

“There are varying ways of looking at it, some people rely on data, some on instinct. There are examples of both sides. Some people say that even the gut feeling is a result of data stored in you after all these areas, as per Blink by Malcolm McDowell. The same data can be used differently by managers. You layer your experience with data," said Kapoor.

Vikas Gupta, Managing Director, Wiley, said, “Last 20 years, everything changed dramatically, nobody wants to pay for the best content. If it is about continuity of business, data works. But when it comes to innovation, disruption, it’s the gut. When you clearly know what you want to achieve, data is helpful. Business is a combination of sentiments, ego, reading what I want to read, and all that.”

“Being a gut-oriented person, I also think it comes with a degree of rationality. My job was to push the envelope when it came to philanthropy. There is a courage needed to make such decisions. Second thing you need as a leader is an effective team. We are hardly anything without any good team," said Naghma Mulla, Chief Operating Officer, EdelGive Foundation.

Siddharth Kothari, Promoter & Chief Investment Strategist, Om Kothari Group, said, “It’s about risk management, and it all depends on your style. It depends on the situation. Software and technology have taken all over the world. There is a dangerous aspect when it comes to social media, as our biases are deepened.”

“We have worked on separate areas where we have used data, and also areas where we have worked based on subjectivity. Increasingly we are using data and technology to make informed decisions. There are a lot of instances where subjectivity comes in, especially in Zee. We don’t decide which movies to produce based on data, but due to the gut feeling," said Sidharth Balakrishna, CEO, SITI Cable and Zee. “Machines are self-learning and can give accurate data. You can even add biases to the decision-making ability of machines”, added Balakrishnan.

Jasmeet Gandhi, Chief Business Officer, Goqii, said, “On a daily basis, the human brain has 6000 thoughts. Our ability to latch on to those thoughts is that gut. Most of the time, most of the gut feeling and intuition-based decisions are the ones you cherish. People take decisions based on intuition and data, but I would go with the gut feel, and gather data on the way.”

“My experience is that in healthcare, people play an important role, human resources is very important. A lot of decisions are based on the gut feeling. Data which I was trying to use has not always led to a fruitful decision. There is a lot of role of data and technology, and in the future, there will be more data-driven decisions. There is a lot available to help gather data," said Swadeep Srivastava, Founder & Chief Belief Officer, India Virtual Hospital.

Ankur Sethi, CEO & Founder, Corporate Shiksha, said, “We have to look at the data vs instinct debate through context. It’s the combination of both. Data is more like knowledge, but gut is like your wisdom. Personally I have seen that the gut sometimes give you the wrong decision. It’s a combination of data and instinct. If it’s a matter of heart, use data. If it is the matter of the mind, you should go with your instincts”.