The Role of Intuition in High Performance

Garry Kasparov was the world’s top chess player for twenty years. Later he became a mentor to young players.

He has this to say about computer assisted learning:

“Everybody has access to the same computers. So I think the brute force of calculation isn’t enough – human intuition is an integral part of successful decision making too. Young players need to hear the greats of the past explain the nature of the game, the rationale of the openings, the ideas behind the moves. They can’t learn by just looking at the screen.”  [Ref: Life’s Work | Harvard Business Review South Asia | April 2015 | page 104]

I completely agree with him. While coaching or mentoring engineers and engineering managers I have seen serious mistakes being made while taking decisions based on established rules. The chance of making such mistakes increases while tackling complex situations and problems.

This is because solving complex problems and taking the right decisions in complex situations needs both reason and intuition. These combine to form right contextual knowledge of a complex situation. Worthwhile to remember that reason forms rules based on existing knowledge, which are, so to say, “Google able”. Whereas, intuition creates new knowledge by making unusual connections, which is commonly known as “out of the box thinking” or “creative thinking.”

Computer aided learning might help develop reason. But how do we develop intuition?

Kasparov offers advice on how to develop intuition.

What might be the other ways, if any?

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