Thursday, January 28, 2010

Gut feel


I loaded a series called, The Ascent of Money to my iPhone. Not sure why I thought it would be interesting but luckily it was a fantastic watch.

The best single interview from all six episodes is with, Ken Griffin of Citadel Investment Group (in episode 4). He is billionaire hedge fund manager who looks younger than me and payed himself $1bn dollars in 2009. More than I paid myself.

His success, he states, is down to mathematics followed by intuition. The most successful managers, he continues, have brilliant intuition which they use fearlessly. The mathematics still has to be done, but is only important in helping to make sure you understand the problem.

There is a fantastic parallel here with ethnographic research or any research for that matter. Using research to help you understand the landscape you are exploring. But then using intuition to generate actions. And good intuition comes, in my view, with practice. Around 10,000 hours according to, Malcolm Gladwell.

When we debrief outputs and workshop them into actions and implications, the research findings form a kind framework or perhaps even a perimeter fence within which to think and be creative. The answers to the objectives never, ever lie in the contents of the films or what people say in them. And we find ourselves constantly having to remind/force clients to think about what isn't happening in the films we have created in order for intuitive thinking to replace rational thinking.

And it really does work. Any thoughts anyone?


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