This article is part of THNK VIEWS. We bridge theory and practice on organizing imagination and innovation by extracting key implications and offering new insights to innovation practitioners from a rich database of research papers. This article builds on The Role of Intuition and Deliberation for Exploitation and Exploration Success by Kurt Matzler, Borislav Uzelac, and Florian Bauer and explains why intuition and deliberation jointly make for better decision-making.
When IBM’s Deep Blue computer defeated one of the world’s most renowned chess players Garry Kasparov in 1997, the world was in shock. Some feared the time of rationalistic machine-domination over humanity had finally come, while others embraced the technological advancement with awe: the birth of a grand human invention surpassing our very own intelligence.
Rapid developments in computing have led to an ever-increasing digitization, causing unprecedented rates of change to society. We live in an age of change and uncertainty. For businesses, this means that only the most versatile survive —innovate or die. Simply adapting to the digital age is not enough: company survival requires explorative business strategies to find new opportunities to improve and renew products and services. To see how businesses might successfully do so, a new study examines the link between explorative and exploitative business strategies on the one hand, and intuitive and analytical deliberate thinking on the other. The authors find that:
- Intuitive and deliberate thinking are not two opposing poles of a continuum, but two intertwined modes of information processing.
- Both intuitive and deliberate decision-making are positively associated with explorative success.
In other words: explorative success requires a combination of both deliberate thinking and intuitive thinking. The authors reiterate, “Companies that create a balanced mix are likely to outperform firms that focus on either activity alone.” Why do they make for such a strong combination?