I was recently approached by the ARK Group to write a chapter for their forthcoming book about How Intelligence Functions within Law Firms Can and Should Support One Another. For years, and most recently in a series of ILTA webinars on CI, I have been advocating for collaborative intelligence. I may have even blogged about it here once or twice too.  While writing my chapter, with the same title as this post, I was able to articulate a few concepts that I thought were worth sharing and reiterating, even if they all seem obvious.

Data Doesn’t Make Decisions it seems obvious, but I think in all the AI, RoboLawyer hype we need to be reminded.  People are still central to decision making, data in its various forms and all the ranges of analysis from SWOT (simple) to AI algorithms (complex) still does require human intelligence and interaction to get at the nuance and understand sometimes complex emotional context.

Information is Quick, Intelligence Takes Time there is a no shortage of information, data, and opinions in the market today. The hardest part of information analysis is not the collection, but making sense of it all, discerning the patterns (even with computers) and then turning it into something usable. That takes time, and often the amount of data you need to collect, the tags you need to apply and the taxonomy you need to define can in turn require its own dedicated time.  Intelligence takes time and as people its incumbent upon us to remember that, if when you need an answer immediately or want to make a decision quickly.

Intelligence is for Issues, Insights are for People this is a new discovery for me. I noticed that many CI practitioners and departments have adopted the insights nomenclature. I couldn’t quite understand why, the connotations of insights over intelligence is less harsh for sure, but there has to be another reason. KITs, Key Intelligence Topics, the corner stone to any good CI project/function starts with defining a business problem or a topic and then getting executive sponsor. Akin to “what keeps you up at night Ms. Firm Management”. But Insights, are about more than data, insights are about seeing beyond the obvious or as the dictionary defines it “seeing into a situation”.  To see into something, means applying a layer of emotional intelligence or EQ. It means understanding motivations, trusting instincts and accounting for a human context.  That is very different than intelligence and not just in connotation and it something worth exploring more in this hyper data driven legal future.

Bottom line, data doesn’t make decisions, people do and we need to better equip ourselves, especially in law firms with the right mix of technology, artificial intelligence, and legal research or knowledge tools to make decisions.  Central to people being equipped to make decisions, is people skills and insight-abilities (can I coin that?). You don’t have to take my word for it, check out The Geek in Review Episode 26 where Cat Moon Talks about Human Centred Design for firms,  I strongly believe in the power of intelligence of any sort to help firms move forward in this competitive environment and I believe data plays a significant role in evidence based decision making.  But even more so I believe in human intelligence and our ability to understand context, connect dots and feel.  Feelings, insights and where computers fall short in their ability (thus far) to intuit is something that I think bears more discussion.