Tag Archives: practical creativity

Are You Testing Your Intuitions?

Are You Testing Your Intuitions?

GUEST POST from Dennis Stauffer

Do you trust your intuitions? When you have a hunch, do you go with it or hold back? There’s been a long-running debate about which is the better strategy.

Some have claimed that top executives are at their best when they “go with their gut” or “follow their instincts.” They can give examples of when that’s turned out well for them. But what we don’t know is how often other intuitions may have turned out badly.

Trusting your intuitions can sometimes keep you safe. Some research has found that firefighters are well-served by their intuitions, because it helps them avoid danger. Women who are uneasy walking alone at night are advised to follow their intuitions.

That makes sense when you’re crossing a dark parking lot or at the scene of a fire. Being cautious when there might be no threat is better than being careless when there might be one. But that doesn’t mean those intuitions are accurate.

Innovators also have intuitions—and need to. Hunches about the value of an idea, or a sense of how customers will react. For an innovator, asking whether you should trust your intuitions is the wrong question. What needs to be asked instead is: How can I test my intuitions? What can I do to find out whether those feelings are reliable?

That’s one reasons innovators have a bias for action. Because acting on their ideas—in ways that will test them—is how they find out whether those ideas will work. That’s not only a more prudent approach than just following hunches; it’s excellent practice at evaluating the merits of your ideas. So over time, you become better at forming those hunches. Because you know how well it worked in the past, and maybe where you might have biases.

If you want to enhance your intuitions—and your innovativeness—don’t trust them or distrust them.

Test them.

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Image Credit: misterinnovation.com

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