Great topic and one dear to many of our hearts. I think anyone who has been through 15+ years of product design has seen the full range in the industry. dot-com boom days saw more work and money than common sense. There was a lot of design instinct being thrown around — we were all making judgement calls and while it lead to many bad calls, the designers making good calls stood out as good designers.
It today’s landscape it’s often harder for good designers to use instinct because we’re being thrown a million questions that go along the lines of “how do you know… have you tested it with users yet?” (Talking about one simple dialog box)
Personally I feel like we live in a design culture now where we need to champion good design process that dictates when it’s appropriate to research/test and when it’s just overkill and its OK to let designers make a call.