When Sabine Hulsman saw children of friends glued to the TV watching Teletubbies she immediately realised this could be business. The Dutch had just started a company organising the production of socks for resellers. Why not produce socks with the BBC’s Teletubbies printed on them? Although she was pregnant, she booked a ticket to London and proposed the deal to the BBC. Sabine’s intuition proved to be right. The Teletubbies socks became a smashing commercial hit.
Sabine’s insight is what experts call ‘strategic intuition’. It is a combination of being suddenly hit by a creative spark followed by clear thinking and an idea for action. The American scientist William Duggan who published on the subject calls it ‘connecting the dots’.
Duggan distinguishes three kinds of intuition. Ordinary intuition, which is a gut feel, not rooted in anything tangible. The expert intuition which is a snap judgement because one recognises something that is familiar. Strategic intuition works in unfamiliar settings. It can come to you as one big ah-ha moment or it can develop gradually. Strategic intuition is what we need in business.
You want to improve your Eureka rating? Well, Duggan gives some hints. Be open minded, study existing solutions and always be on the look-out for trends.
Do you also have an example of strategic intuition that generated business?