Intuition, The Secret Weapon Of Innovative Entrepreneurs?


Launch an innovation, evaluate a business opportunity, set up on a new market … Every entrepreneur is regularly led to make strategic decisions. We make these choices with our heart, our head, and our “guts”. Hence the expression “gut feeling” in English.

But should we trust our emotional intuition? Or, at the time of big data and the “sacredness” of data, rely on numbers and statistics is the safest way?

Intuition, a faculty we all possess

Characterized by Einstein as a sacred gift, intuition is defined as ” immediate and direct knowledge, without recourse to reasoning. Etymologically, it is the association of in / Quintus, which means ” inside, inward, ” and killing, ” bearing one’s gaze.” Intuition is, therefore, something that is in us. This is proved by a study by the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Cerebral Sciences in Leipzig that revealed that brain activity predicts the decision that a person will take up to 7 seconds before it is taken. We would all be programmed to make the right decision before we even take it. We also use our intuition in many personal choices, sometimes very involved: the person with whom we get married, a real estate purchase, etc.

Intuition vs. reason to create innovation?

However, nowadays – and for a long time now – we love the facts, the evidence and attach much greater importance to what is ” scientifically proven “. This is an indisputable fact: data do not lie and that is why their weight in our choices is paramount.

In decision making, one of the determining factors is the ability of the entrepreneur to access the right information at the right time and ideally, before his competitors. As part of the launch of a new activity, the academic method has proven itself and values ​​the data. Thus, we conduct market studies, we study the feasibility of the project, as well as competition and demand to create an offer meeting the needs of this identified demand.

The entrepreneur can also use his intuition which exploits both emotional elements and knowledge acquired, as well as his own previous experience. This entrepreneurial spirit has learned to recognize the different stimuli of the environment and to make connections with already available diagrams, allowing it to analyze the situation quickly.

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In 2010, out of 93 Nobel Prize winners interviewed about the key factors in their success, 82 mentioned intuition.

The bright and innovative businessmen Richard Branson or Steve Jobs put intuition at the center of their decisions.

“You have to believe in something – your intuition, fate, your life, karma, whatever. This approach never lets me down and made all the difference in my life “- Steve Jobs.   

Indeed, when it comes to major innovations and data does not exist yet in this area, it remains only our intuition to guide us.

Intuition, innovation, and rationality: the “perfect match”?

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift. “- Albert Einstein

Intuition is a “skill” today more and more recognized and valued in the world of startups and entrepreneurs. Less “mystical” and paradoxically more scientific than we think (advances in medical imaging today to better understand this faculty), we become aware of the under-exploitation and power of this “soft skill”.

Let us rehabilitate intuition by learning to recognize it. And like any skill, it is learned, worked and maintained.

And you, what place do you give to intuition in your strategy?

Also published on Medium.