Creative Strategy: A Guide for Innovation From Mind To Method

By William Duggan

In Creative Strategy: A Guide for Innovation, William Duggan shows how the human mind creates solutions to new problems and then translates that mental method into a series of formal steps that an individual or group can use for innovation of any kind. The mental method is ‘strategic intuition’, which Duggan’s previous book Strategic Intuition explains in detail. Below, an excerpt from Creative Strategy discusses a set of steps that can be used to apply strategic intuition, outlining a formal method for innovation.


Strategic Intuition

To start, we must go back to three key milestones in the recent history of the science of the mind. The first came in 1981, when Roger Sperry won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on the two sides of the brain. Sperry concluded from his experiments that one side of the brain is rational and analytical but lacks imagination and that the other side of the brain is creative and intuitive but irrational.

Unfortunately, our second key milestone overturned this dual model of the mind. In the early 1990s, Seiji Ogawa figured out how to use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to show how ideas emerge in the human brain. Ogawa has been on the short list for the Nobel Prize for some years now. His work let scientists see which parts of the brain different mental tasks actually use. From Ogawa’s first MRIs, it was immediately clear that there are not two kinds of thinking that operate on two different sides of the brain.

Although Ogawa’s work overturned Sperry’s dual model, it took science another decade to arrive at a new model to replace it. Our third key milestone came in 2000, when Eric Kandel won the same Nobel Prize as Sperry for his work on this new model. Kandel called it “learning-and-memory,” where the whole brain takes in and stores information through sensation and analysis and retrieves it through conscious and unconscious search and combination. In this model, analysis and intuition are not two different kinds of thought, in two different locations, but rather two key inputs into a single mode of thought that operates throughout the brain. Some thought has more analysis, some has more intuition, but all thought requires both.

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