Intuition, the “Secret Sauce” for Expanding Innovative Thinking


By Martin Mark



In my five decades of exploration into innovative thinking, I have found that negative self-talk may be the greatest obstacle to success. It can dull our intuitive capabilities, and create or support narrow, fearful, and limited thinking. Negative self-talk, (would, could, should, but, what if?, may, and try) is of little value in helping the mind free itself from ordinary, or reactive thinking patterns.

The key for the innovative thinker is to focus on using inquiry-oriented words such as “who, what, why, where, when, and how?” When doing R and D, and In your private and public conversations, ask questions to bring you both the answers you need and the freedom that the right answers create. Doing these things can help you create and focus your sense of vision. Without a mental vision or a stated mission, life seems aimless.




By Norman Lear Center



The innovative thinker needs to think of things that excite them in a positive way.  They need to think about art, sailing, philosophy, learning about history, or even how their innovation will make the world a better place.  They need to focus on things they can do to reach or fulfill that vision. Remember, that without a vision or a mission, life has little meaning and may seem aimless.

Once the innovative process is in full swing, intuition may show up. Students of intuition in the innovative process know there are many forms of intuition.

Researchers have discovered that intuition is generally experienced through…

  1. physical sensations (kinesthetic),
  2. emotions, and feelings,
  3. symbols and images (mental)


Let’s explore each of these distinctions

  1. Physical Sensations: Physical (Kinesthetic) intuition involves the experience of physical sensations that communicate information. Those with this ability to feel physically “comfortable” or “uncomfortable” about something may experience this as a gut feeling, a physical pain, or something that excites their sense of passion.
  2. Emotional Intuition: This is usually experienced as a vague or specific feeling that has no explanation, but is usually right. For example, you might feel slightly depressed because you know something is wrong; you actually become sensitive to the emotional states of others around you; you recognize messages in their physical posture or you automatically have a certain feeling arise when specific messages are received. It is not an intellectual process but rather it happens right there at that moment.  Those who experience intuition on an emotional level (called emotional intuitives) often say phrases such as “I like” and “I don’t like,” or “this feels good or bad to me.” They also respond to requests from others and make decisions based on how they feel. If they are not aware that they do this, which is often the case, they may even experience a feeling without realizing that they are picking up thoughts and feelings from another person.
  3. Mental Intuition: This form of intuition may seem almost intellectual in nature: It may simply be an internal conversation you are having with yourself about a solution to a problem. It might also appear as a brainstorm in the shower, a hunch, or a nagging thought that won’t go away. This is especially the case for a person who is not normally obsessive about certain things, thoughts, or ideas. These thoughts may reflective of what we normally consider to be about common sense, or recognizing what seems obvious. Intuition is not logical, though it might initially be experienced as if it is.

According to my friend Nancy Rosanoff, a respected expert and writer on intuition, “Most often, people have a combination of the above three, though one form may be dominant. Rarely is someone totally one type. We categorize them only to indicate that there is more than one way to perceive intuitive information.”

Clearly, the innovative thinker needs to recognize the power of intuition in addition to logic, statistics, and the process of trial and error (heuristics).



About the author: I am a game theorist and self-improvement coach offering advice for innovators of all levels who are dealing with obstacles and constraints.




Most of my Medium stories that are related to self-improvement, life lessons, mental health, and gaming are anchored into the concept of Applied Game Theory. This idea explores how and why people make certain choices. Researchers into game theory have won over twenty Noble Prizes, and the movie “A Beautiful Mind” is about the life of John Nash, one of the pioneers in game theory. Learn more about how game theory can be a  powerful tool for self-improvement and the expansion of innovative thinking in the article below. It was written so that a 12-year-old can easily understand and apply the simple 3 step system.



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