Steve Jobs once said “Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D.” So how do innovative ideas arise? Science is showing us that they come from a source that is best known as intuition, and we can increase our ability to tap this source.
Successful entrepreneurs are those people who are able to envision what will be valuable in the future. It’s as though they have access to information that is not bounded by time and space. Research shows that when entrepreneurs are identifying new business opportunities, they rely more heavily on intuitive abilities than on rational analytical faculties. In other words, they don’t derive new ideas through logic and analysis, but rather they receive them from a deeper knowing.
I’ll bet many of us have experienced or heard about others experiencing a sudden knowing that couldn’t be explained. We’ve all heard stories such as the mother in Oklahoma who awoke in a cold sweat at the moment her son was shot in Iraq. Albert Einstein claimed that his discovery of the Theory of Relativity was based on an intuitive insight that came in a flash. In fact, most scientific discovery has been sparked through intuition. I think most of us tend to acknowledge that intuition can occur, yet we don’t usually delve into how it happens and how it can be beneficial in business.
Intuition of a future or remote event can be scientifically explained. However, the explanation first requires acceptance of a fact that is non-conventional: our perception of time and space is only an illusion, and physics has proven that there is fundamentally no past or future and no here or there. This point is no longer in dispute within reputable scientific communities. Most of us have heard this stated, yet we haven’t internalized it. This means that information can be accessed about everything that exists, has existed, or has the potential to exist. It is because of this that our intuition can access limitless information.
Research shows that information about a future or remote event, referred to as a nonlocal event, emits an energetic radiation. When people focus a passionate, emotional attention toward a nonlocal event of interest, such as a potential future business opportunity, this attunes their physiological and psychological systems to the energy radiating from the event. The wave of energy from the event contains information that the perceiver experiences as intuition. Experimentation shows that the heart receives the nonlocal information and it then sends a corresponding signal to the brain. Successful entrepreneurs, more than the average person, are attuned to this energy.
I don’t think of myself as an entrepreneur, but I have had many experiences of suddenly knowing something that didn’t come through rational analysis. I find I can get an answer to almost any question as long as I ask it clearly, free my mind of analytical thinking, and maintain a positive and centered state of mind. I remember one time I was trying to drastically increase the speed of a transportation network. For a couple of days I explored all the options I could think of but came up with only incremental improvements. Then I decided to pursue intuition. First, I clearly stated the question of what I was seeking, then I freed my mind of any thought about the problem and headed out for a walk in the park, which always makes me feel happy and grounded. As you can guess, the answer came to me as a sudden knowing. I suddenly knew that the network needed routes that would dynamically shift under certain circumstances. It was a radical departure from the way I had been thinking because I hadn’t even considered dynamic routes, and I don’t believe my rational mind would have ever come up with it. Yet once it occurred to me, all I could think of was “of course!”.
So if you want to innovate like a successful entrepreneur, acknowledge that the source of ideas is beyond your rational mind. Then frame your inquiry clearly and without limiting assumptions, put yourself in a positive emotional state by doing something that you find energizing, and clear your mind to make room for the answer to arise.
As we learn more from neuroscience about the incredible power of group emotions, we see reasons to adopt techniques beyond the ordinary. For more on shaping team emotions to increase creativity and performance, including research references, get notified of the upcoming book Primal Teams: Harnessing the Incredible Power of Group Energy or sign up for a monthly summary of articles.Share