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Vivek Srinivasan

Presales Consultant

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Intuition – An Alternate way to learn and decide

Two and a half decades have passed since dawn of millennium. One of the conspicuous developments during this period is the exponential growth of computational power and software that can take advantage of the vast computational resources. These developments have triggered confirmation of several theories that were propounded numerous decades back when the facilities were not as advanced as today . For example, Srinivasan Ramanujam the mathematical wizard wrote equations about mock modular forms in his death bed and sent it to his professor in Cambridge. This was 1920. Turn the clock to 2000s the mathematical researchers have discovered that his equations explain the behavior of black holes.This confirms the fact that intuitively learning any subject– black holes, mathematics, physics etc. is a capability teachers and learners should explore.

Intuition is very hard to understand as there is no specific process that can be attributed to arriving at a final decision. It is fast, automatic and often associated with inspiration. Consider situations which are fluid, chaotic and unstructured. Intuition plays a key role in decision making. Many influential CEOs and businessmen who often face the situation have affirmed the same. A society and education is becoming increasingly complex intuitive learning will help future learners to navigate the complexities easily.

Intuition – A key growth driver for organizations

A key question for an organization to answer – Do we require solid proof for all conclusions drawn and decisions taken?

The answer must be emphatic ‘No’ for intuitive learning to flourish in an organization. History has told us that intuition has created first movers or given a long-lasting competitive advantage for organizations. I would like to quote two examples in this regard. First example is the intuition for design which appeals to the mass audience was latent in Steve Jobs. All this was unleashed when he started Apple. He developed products which were aesthetically appealing and became status symbols for people. The design of the operating systems built by Apple for their devices borrowed heavily from his intuitive understanding of design. Till now, no one has succeeded replicating Apple’s scale of success and fandom across the world.

Second example explores the advent of the Digital signal processing(DSP) that made mobile devices possible. The most influential person in this regard is Prof. Andrew Viterbi, a professor at UCLA and co-founder of Qualcomm. As a professor, he struggled to teach the complex information theory course. Intuitively, he realized there are ways to simplify complex algorithms for students to understand the course easily. This pursuit led to him creating the Viterbi’s algorithm which proved to be the cornerstone of modern communication and founding of Qualcomm. Qualcomm is still undisputed leader in developing modems for use in mobile devices. Several companies including Intel and Apple have failed to develop modems that have the efficiency of Qualcomm and shut down their units.

Challenges in accessing intuition

This begs the question why aren’t there more Steve Jobs or Andrew Viterbis’ in the world ? Why is something innately present within us so challenging to access ?.

The answer – Developing intuitive learning is deeply linked with mental conditioning of a person. As a first step, personality tests such as Myers Briggs must be administered to understand the extent of development of intuitive dimension in a person. Often society, one’s belief systems, one’s experiences condition the mind to see things with a bias instead of seeing things as they are. There is excessive emphasis on developing analytical and logical thinking  which drives people to keep the bolts and bearings of their mind churning all the time. During this time, we fail to grasp whatever is happening in the moment. The gifts such as sense of curiosity, perseverance, excitement towards learning, open-mindedness are somehow lost as we develop into adults. These are some reasons why accessing intuition is challenging.

Are there ways to develop this beautiful gift from nature ?

How will it impact the future of education and learning ?

All this and more in my next blog .

Meanwhile, feel free to comment on how intuition has helped you navigate life.