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 research conducted by Marc Stierand, Viktor Dörfler and Jillian MacBryde: Creativity and Innovation in Haute Cuisine: Towards a Systemic Model. We further explore the role of intuition on creativity in the context of architectural design, arguing that intuition requires disciplined sensing to produce creative and innovative ideas.
The military world has a special word for it: coup d’oeil – the power of a single glance. “The ability to immediately see and make sense of the battlefield”, and base your subsequent strategy on that. For birdwatchers it is all about developing “giss”, allowing you to recognize a bird’s essence in a mere blink of an eye, before it flies away. Those that have experienced it, describe it as a gut-feeling, a sudden surge of instinct and insight. While the experience probably sounds familiar to many, intuitive insight is not often seen as a sound basis for decision-making.
The cited study seeks to close this gap, examining the role of intuition on creativity and innovation among creative professionals. It finds that intuition is of crucial importance to creativity and innovation. To us, three findings stand out:
- Intuition provides an inner ‘guiding force’ that helps respond to experiences and interpret them into creative ideas that carry an emotional quality.
- The creative process is an embodied experience that is often guided by intuition and involves a large degree of bodily sensations and sensory knowing.
- Sometimes, new ideas are developed when engaged in habitual, everyday activities.
We agree that intuition and creativity are highly personal experiences that provide us with inner guiding forces in everyday life and decision-making. What is more, we see intuition as a form of disciplined sensing: by developing and mastering intuitive expertise, people become better in coming up with novel ideas, and in anticipating what may become an innovation.