Intuition in Strategy

Intuition in Strategic Thinking
Gisle Henden MBM MA MPHIL Dr stip
Why is it important ?
What is intuition ?
How can we develop it ?
Why is intuition important in strategy?
Today, many companies have done much of
the hard work of catching up on quality, cost,
speed and flexibility.
That is, there is little to gain from further
improvements in these areas.
How then, should we proceed?
Hamel & Prahalad
We need to explore and cultivate the
potential of those activities, that are
time-bound to a lesser extent.
The mind is the single most important
asset in this respect.
Strategic Planning is Analytic
Strategic Thinking is Intuitive
Henry Mintzberg
What do research tell us?
One critical finding, in a survey including 1300
practicing managers from nine countries, is
that intuition is perceived as playing a major
role in their professional lives. 56 % using both
intuition and logic/reasoning in almost equal
measure, and a further 7,5 % stating that they
actually use intuition more. Almost 80 %
believe that intuition has relevance in
corporate strategy and planning.
Parikh et al. 1994
What do researchers say?
“Studying intuition is a
way to create a more realistic
view of how strategic decision
makers actually think.”
Eisenhardt & Zbaracki
What do top strategists say?
”In these thirty years, that I have had
the pleasure to lead organizations, it
has almost always gone well, when I
have trusted my intuition. When I have
done things the old, traditional way, it
has not turned out so favourably.”
Jan Carendi CEO Skandia
What do scientists say?
“Fragmentation is now very widespread,
not only throughout society, but also in
each individual.
This is leading to a general confusion of
the mind, which creates an endless series
of problems, and interferes with our clarity
of perception, so seriously as to prevent us
from being able to solve most of them.”
David Bohm
Cost, Speed & Accuracy of Intuition
The analytic approach to problem solving
produces the precise answer more often, but
its distribution of errors is quite wide.
In contrast to this, intuition is less frequently
precise, but more consistently close to the
correct answer.
Peters et. al.
Decisions aided by intuition are available
Analysis would seem to be slower &
Though, intimate knowledge of the
subject, may be required for intuition to
work properly. The investment cost of
intuition is therefore much higher.
What is Intuition?
A Hunch
Gut Feeling
Sudden Insight
Tacit Knowledge
Perception of the Unconscious
Language of Metaphors, Symbols &
Intuition is the event which occurs
when an individual reaches a
conclusion on the basis of less
explicit information than is
ordinarily required to reach that
Malcolm Westcott
At any given moment one is conscious of
only a small section of what one knows.
Intuition allows one to draw on that vast
storehouse of unconscious knowledge that
includes not only everything that one has
experienced or learned, either consciously or
subliminally, but also the infinite reservoir of the
collective or universal unconscious, in which
individual separateness and ego boundaries are
Frances Vaughan
Intuition ….
Looks in-to-it
Perceives what is unconscious
Visualizes it as pictures, symbols, archetypes,
metaphors, analogies
Connect and link it to consciousness
Synthesize elements of knowledge and
information to coherent patterns and wisdom
Finds the meaning
Can intuition be wrong?
Intuitive problem solving;
Intuition advocate harmony
between thinking, feelings, and
information provided by the five
How can we develop our intuition?
Meditation, quieting the mind
Receptive, non-judgmental attitude
Dream interpretation
Guided imagery
Understanding of symbols, myths, and
Focus simultaneously in and out
Use environment as mirror
Preferences in Judgement & Perception
Direction of Energy
Extraversion (E)
Focus on the people and things in the
outer world
Introversion (I)
Focus on the thoughts, feelings and
impressions of the inner world
Gathering Information
Sensing (S)
Focus on facts and details that can be
confirmed by experience
Intuition (N)
Focus on possibilities and relationships
among ideas
Making Decisions
Thinking (T)
Use impersonal, objective, logical
analysis to reach conclusions
Feeling (F)
Use person-centered, subjective
analysis to reach conclusions
Dealing with the Outer World
Judging (J)
Plan and organize; make decisions and
come to closure
Perceiving (P)
Be spontaneous and adaptable; collect
information and stay open to new options
Your Values
Take some time and try to figure
out what your three most
important values are.
Intuition versus Sensing
A cynical person knows the prize on everything, and
has no clue about the value.
The beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Happiness is not to have many things. Happiness is
to be satisfied with what you’ve got.
We don’t love people because we find them beautiful.
We find people beautiful because we love them.
Intuition versus Feelings
It is not a problem being treated unfair, if you
do not allow yourself to remember it.
We may not trust our emotions, but
nevertheless, they reveal the greatest
By hurting others you are also hurting
Intuitive understanding ....
Strangers are friends that you have not met
We should be interested in the future,
because thats where we are going to spend
the rest of our life.
The best we can do for others is not to share
our wealth with them, but to show them their
Exploration versus Exploitation
Refinements & improvements of conventional
knowledge and established methods, provide
short-run gains that are compelling.
As we develop greater and greater competence
in using these established technologies &
strategies, we become less and less willing or
able to change to newer ones that offer
longer-run superiority.
James March
What to do?
intuition as real
memory as an enemy
experience as a theory
the self as a hypothesis
James March
A little story ....
There was a poor farmer who had a chicken, which
suddenly produced an egg made of gold ......
His surprise was great, when this happened the next
morning as well. And the next, and the next, .....
After some time, he became rich and greedy. He decided
to kill the chicken, opened it up and searched for even
more eggs ......