When do you get your best ideas? You probably answer "At night," or "In the shower," or "Stuck in traffic." You get a flash of insight. Things come together in your mind. You connect the dots. You say to yourself, "Aha! I see what to do." Brain science now reveals how these flashes of insight happen. It's a special form of intuition. We call it strategic intuition, because it gives you an idea for action—a strategy.
Brain science tells us there are three kinds of intuition: ordinary, expert, and strategic. Ordinary intuition is just a feeling, a gut instinct. Expert intuition refers to snap judgments, when you instantly recognize something familiar, the way a tennis pro knows where the ball will go from the arc and speed of the opponent's racket. The third kind, strategic intuition, is a clear thought. And it's not fast, like expert intuition. It's slow. That flash of insight you had last night might solve a problem that's been on your mind for a month. And it doesn't happen in familiar situations, like a tennis match. Strategic intuition works in new situations. That's when you need it the most.
In Strategic Intuition: The Creative Spark in Human Achievement, William Duggan shows how strategic intuition lies at the heart of great achievements throughout human history: the scientific and computer revolutions, women's suffrage, the civil rights movement, modern art, microfinance in poor countries, and more.
Duggan, William. "Flash versus Blink: An Introduction to Strategic Intuition." In Strategic Intuition, 1-10. New York: Columbia Business School, 2007.
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