The Women’s Intuition of Things – a new era of innovation

There is no such thing as women’s intuition – or, at least, no such scientifically measurable phenomenon that has a physiological basis in gender. But research does show that female brains do work somewhat differently to male brains in a number of ways that may be significant; scanning for more information than men typically do when problem-solving, and often using a different and broader set of neural pathways.

Neuropsychiatrist Louann Brizendine is among a number of scientists who have suggested that these differences may be responsible for many women’s better sensory recall of emotions, and heightened sensitivity to sound and visual cues. These traits can come together to create the psychic-like ability to understand a situation before it happens that we generally call ‘intuition’. Brizendine writes:

"In a German study, researchers conducted brain scans of men and women while they mentally rotated abstract, three-dimensional shapes. There were no performance differences between the men and women, but there were significant, sex-specific differences in the brain circuits they activated to complete the task. Women triggered brain pathways linked to visual identification and spent more time than men picturing the objects in their minds … females perform all the cognitive functions males perform—they just do so by using different brain circuits."

I am a mechanical engineer and a consultant in the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT). Although the technological world has been talking about IoT for decades, it is only relatively recently that the term has made its way into everyday life. It is the technology that makes it possible to switch the heating on or off from a smartphone; or that can remind us to buy milk on the way home because sensors in our smart fridge detect an almost-empty carton; or that automatically alters the timing of traffic signals when it spots long queues of cars.

From my research and experience of this ever-increasing interconnectedness of ‘things’, I have come to see that IoT mimics nothing so much as the process of decision-making that we call women’s intuition. I have come to the conclusion, in fact, that we should rename IoT the ‘Women’s Intuition of Things’ (WIoT). I have drawn a chart to explain the similarities.

The first decade of my working life was spent mostly alongside male colleagues, some whom told me often that I was too young, thought too big, or kept reminding me that I am a female. So I began looking outside this mature, male-dominated industry for women mentors who would help me understand my thought processes. I also set up WomenFix, an online platform that reaches out to women problem solvers around the world, encouraging them to embrace their innate gift – their so-called women’s intuition – and learn how to use it and profit from it.

My vision is that since women already naturally do what (mostly male) scientists, engineers and technology experts have tried for decades to incorporate into IoT, the new WIoT approach will be an era of innovation; women will be hired to sense efficiency gains, to visualize corners that can be cut, and to create products and processes that will touch lives in sustainable and positive ways.

I believe this will happen because right now an organization’s competitive advantage lies in being able to connect and collaborate with others, and to have a holistic, big-picture strategy that benefits as many parties as possible. Women are good at this. Traditionally, adjectives such as ‘sensitive’ and ‘emotional’ have been regarded as profit killers that have no place in the world of commerce. In the information age, however, matching IoT to WIoT is the route to profitability.

Technologies Enhance WIoT

The difference, of course, is that advances in technology mean we can now collect, story and access all the data and information that women are often able to sense and analyze, but not articulate.  How many times have you told someone that your intuition was telling you something – but you could not prove it?

Now we can go beyond what we feel to include concrete data that supports our sense of future happenings, just as when a data scientist analyses historical data and real-time data to predict looming traffic gridlock.

The development revolution has added an extra dimension to the information revolution. 3D printing and hybrid manufacturing can essentially bring any idea to life. Financing for products and processes has never been easier thanks to crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, non-accredited investors, and micro-loans.

But in a world where we can make anything, there is surely a heightened responsibility to ask not "Can we make this?" but "Should we make this?”. I think women are prime candidates to take on this responsibility and to get paid for it.

The WIoT–IoT comparison chart shows that women have a natural tendency to draw on historical data and emotions (empathy) to build an understanding of the big picture. They have an instinct not only for what is possible, but also for whether it is likely to be harmful or helpful. Given enough transparent information about value chains, I believe women are better at spotting the harm in existing ecosystems and can build value where needed.

Women should be hired to act as process builders and inefficiency spotters; to fix what is wrong so that we do not make anything new, or continue with existing processes, that harm the big picture – families, economies, and the world. And because women tend to be excellent at connecting the dots, they can creatively build in a way that gives back to communities while keeping profits high and employees happy.

If you’d like to be hired for your WIoT, please visit WomenFix to join a league of female problem-solvers who make things happen. 
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  • Stella Bakibinga
    This is very true. I know quite a number of women who by intuition have helped Children out of danger. I am interested in the WIoT and will check it up!
  • Joy Eze
    Yes!I agree with you Ondiek,When women are economically, financialy and ICT literate ,they contribute greatly to their community and their nation generally.
  • Ondiek Japheth
    When women are empowered through entrepreneurship and technology, they are able to make significant contributions to their economies. Technology helps to produce a more financially inclusive environment. For example: mobile devices have a current penetration of 700 million users in Sub-Saharan Africa and are invariably at the forefront of giving women the power to transact, connect, locate and search, changing how they engage with digital payment solutions.
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