The importance of gut feeling

six_sigmaI was reading this very inspiring article at Harvard Business Review the other day (I actually instantly bought the book as well…one more for the shelf…).
In the article Roberto Verganti talks about user-centered-innovation and how he disagrees with the approach.
After working with six sigma a couple of years in my previous job, I have sort of come to the same conclusion. In the Six Sigma scheme the overall (simplified) goal is to move away from ‘gut feeling’ and towards data based facts and decision making. As we said to our clients: “Gut feeling is evil” :)
In the same manner user-centered-innovation is an attempt by businesses to verify their concepts. By user involvement they hope to create products, services etc. that the users demand.
As much as I acknowledge user involvement in general, it just isn’t the right approach when what you’re creating is genuinely an innovative product – especially if the product fills a yet un-adressed market. In that case you are creating a completely new demand.
And to be honest, I’d rather follow my own gut feeling than asking several other individuals about their opinion about something they haven’t yet thought of.
I thank Roberto Verganti for putting intelligent words on this. Looking forward to read his book.