"Intuition becomes increasingly valuable in the new information society precisely because there is so much data." John Naisbitt
Intuition, insight, discernment, perception, awareness, understanding, comprehension, apprehension, appreciation, penetration, acumen, judgment, acuity, vision, wisdom, savvy are some of the words that constantly pop up in different journals and business books.
The word that I am hooked to is Insight. The dictionary defines insight as the act or outcome of grasping the inward or hidden nature of things or of perceiving in an intuitive manner. A great example that comes to mind is the discovery of penicillin. During those times it was the norm to throw away moldy blood samples. However, Sir Alexander Fleming, the Scottish bacteriologist, had an instinct to study the mold on a blood sample that had gone bad. That instinct ushered in the era of penicillin and antibiotics. There are thousands of example: perhaps the most studied being Mr. Steve Jobs in our our recent memory. Overnight the IPhone was a best seller because the learning curve was substantially reduced. "The percentage of users actually utilizing all of the features that a smart phone offers was higher than other phones we've tested. The iPhone was more intuitive than other devices." Even a few years ago who would have thought about a technical device being intuitive.
Experts do acknowledge that insight is a learned skill.
Asking a lot of questions does build strong intuitive muscles. In design discovery meetings, the most powerful creative intuitions shows up after a long question and answer sessions. Don't be fearful to ask any questions. Ask questions that does not particularly pertain to the project. See where it goes. To get a feel for the clients emotions' layout a visual map of the conversation. Ask more questions based on the map. Then walk away from the project. Let your sub-conscious take over.
Find solitude. Listen to yourself in solitude. Training yourself to listen to your inner voice when you aren’t alone and will lead to catching powerful intuitive ideas right when you need them.
Strangle the inner critic within you. Turn off your negative barometer. If your inner voice say this is a dumb idea. Make a conscious choice to ask “what part of this idea will work?” This way you will embark on a journey of asking positive questions and your sub-conscious will feed you with solutions in the form of insight - the art of seeing what is invisible to others.
Insight or creative intelligence comes from deep within you. It helps generate not only solutions for your design projects but new opportunities and options for you. Beware! often, it will take you to the less trodden paths that leads to nowhere. "Intuition makes much of it; I mean by this the faculty of seeing a connection between things that in appearance are completely different; it does not fail to lead us astray quite often." Andre Weil