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December 22, 2012 / compassioninpolitics

On the value of intuition in the decision-making process

Intuition in the Decision-Making Process:

Initially, intuition is the marrying of knowledge, experience, and the gut feeling. As such, the value of intuition is related to the value of insights and decision making processes of the individual him/herself and the quality of data inputs.

And moreover, I think intuition is usually a filter in the decision making process, even if not formally acknowledged as intuition (in the same way many decisions have an emotional element we fail to openly acknowledge).

Brainstorming and hypothesis creation is a form of idea and theory development using intuition. Usually, external data is then brought to bare (for instance asking a colleague what they know about a professional services provider or a particular strategy.)

Third, not all decisions take place in the realm of data. For instance, judgments in the court of law seem to require intuition regarding the credibility of witnesses and storytelling by various sides.

Here are some areas where I think intuition is involved at one point or another:

* Predicting the behavior of where a competitor is going.
* Predicting the behavior of where the market is going.
* Making hyptheses.
* Brainstorming & problem solving.
* Next quarter growth predictions (not the best example, perhaps).
* Assessing the viability of a collaboration.
* I observed X and therefore did Y is usually an intuition based on past experience.

How Decision-making Takes Place in Organizations
Individuals usually bring to bear various data points (based on past behavior), various experienced opinions (inside or outside the organization), along with the criteria that’s important to those in power who are the ultimate deciders.
The heart of the matter then seems to be just a question of what kind of data you bring to bear to verify your intuition, how credible the data is, and how representative the data is of the situation you are examining.

How do you solve the problem of intuition?
Well, first by cultivating an understanding of the key data points, human behavior, and group behavior. perhaps by determining the risk exposure of a given decision, potential trade-offs, or determining other ways to minimize risk seem like a way to use intuition to solve the problems that lack of data might create. Usually, the nature of the risk is roughly proportional to how much ahead of the market a company has decided to make their decision.

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