Witness the transformative power of analytical intelligence and make more informed choices
The facets of human cognition – how you gain knowledge and understanding – are as diverse as the situations we find ourselves in. Analytical intelligence represents one of those facets. It's sometimes referred to as critical thinking and is, basically, how you dissect information to figure out what's going on and come up with solutions.
Has anyone ever told you that you think strategically or are good at coming up with innovative ideas? If so, you're probably an analytical thinker; someone who's really good at examining information, finding patterns, and drawing logical conclusions. You may even hold some type of analytical job – possibly involving research, data analysis, or management consulting.
Perhaps you want to be an analytical thinker but don't think you're quite there yet. Well, then, welcome to “What is analytical intelligence and how is it used?”. Here, you'll learn how to refine your skills by not only learning what analytical intelligence is, but also by understanding its relevance in different contexts and looking at practical applications of its use.
What is analytical intelligence?
At its core, analytical intelligence is your ability to solve problems and employ logical reasoning to analyze a situation, break down the data, and draw conclusions based on evidence. A great example of someone who was known for analytical intelligence is Sherlock Holmes. He had what could be called a mental toolkit for solving puzzles and problems by looking at a scene and using logic to deduce what had happened. He even said as much when he uttered the phrase, “It's elementary, my dear Watson.”
The psychology behind analytical intelligence
That mental toolkit contains things like systematic, logical, and objective reasoning, to allow your working memory to temporarily hold information while you question assumptions and draw conclusions based on deductive or inductive reasoning. During the course of solving a problem, you may also use what's called metacognition, where you think about your own thinking to evaluate the effectiveness of your conclusions and adjust your approach.
There are 5 basic steps in leveraging analytical intelligence to solve problems:
This involves paying close attention to everything surrounding an issue or problem that needs to be solved. It means that you have to be fully present and attentive at the moment, and take in as much information as possible to see things that others miss, understanding that even the tiniest detail can make the biggest difference. On top of that, observation can also mean that you have to get information from disparate sources and combine what you've learned in an objective way. The main goal here is to make sure you don't let your own opinions and biases cloud what you see.
2. Detect patterns
After you have the information you need, it's critical to find similarities and connections between pieces of information to figure out how everything fits together. It could be similarities in data, behaviors, and occurrences that are related to the problem at hand. For example, a Sales Analyst may find that sales increase during certain months of the year, causing a trend that needs to be capitalized on to increase profits. Identifying patterns helps the bigger picture to come into focus, so that you can reasonably predict outcomes or anticipate what might happen next.
3. Put the puzzle together
This is where logical thinking reigns supreme. You have to take all the information you've gathered and the patterns you've detected to piece things together in a coherent and meaningful way. That means you have to use reasoning to figure out how the pieces of information and the patterns relate to each other. Often, you'll find there is a cause-and-effect relationship. If you go back to our sales example, you'll probably find that the months with the pattern of increased sales are due to increased customer demand – probably around a holiday. At this point, you should start to build a story based on what you've learned and come to a point where you can start to explain the basis of the situation.
4. Get proof
However, you still need evidence to support your conclusions. If you were to walk up to a manager right now and tell them to put more money into marketing because customers are buying more products during certain months, that manager would tell you to prove it. You'd have to be able to present things such as sales data and competitor analysis to confirm any hypothesis you've drawn about increased sales during particular months. But that's not enough. You also have to test the hypothesis, to ensure that your conclusions are based on solid facts. This helps you to eliminate assumptions, emotions, and biases to support your claims and add credibility to your process.
5. Draw conclusions
This is where everything comes together to allow you to communicate your findings – either in a report or a presentation – to the people who make decisions. Once you've convinced people that your conclusions are solid and things begin to get implemented, you have to gauge the outcomes to be sure that the desired effect is being achieved. Analytical thinkers know that sometimes, course corrections have to be made for continuous improvement.
The relevance of analytical intelligence
The beauty of analytical intelligence is that it's a super useful tool that you can use in all aspects of life - not just at work. Using it doesn't make you a know-it-all; it just means that you're good at breaking down problems to make smart choices.
Here are some examples of where analytical intelligence can serve you well:
Science and research
Scientists use analytical thinking to break down complex problems, gather data, and uncover the mysteries of the universe. For instance, when scientists study climate change they use analytical thinking to analyze temperature patterns, carbon dioxide levels, and other data to understand what's happening to our planet.
Business and marketing
Businesses rely on analytical thinkers to use analytical skills like analyzing stocks, predicting market trends, and managing investments. In marketing, it's used to understand customer behavior and improve advertising strategies. Business owners are always trying to figure out how to increase profitability - the goal is, after all, to keep the doors open. Analytical intelligence helps you to analyze sales data, customer feedback, and market trends to make informed choices.
Even in your daily life, analytical thinking is quite handy. Let's say you're planning a road trip. You use analytical thinking to figure out the best route, estimate fuel costs, and decide where to stop along the way. It also helps you to make choices like which smartphone to buy, by comparing features and prices.
Are analytical people smart?
Yes, analytical people are smart, but again, that doesn't mean they are know-it-alls. It's a different kind of smart. People's brains work in different ways, and having analytical intelligence just means that you're great at problem-solving, thinking critically, and making sense of complex issues. In fact, because of how logical your brain is, you may find that you're really good at science but need a little help with art or music. Everyone has their strengths!
Being an analytical thinker also has little to do with having a high IQ. Don't be confused; IQ and analytical intelligence do go together, but it's not a causal relationship. IQ tests measure a lot of different types of intelligence, including analytical skills, spatial reasoning, and memory.
Some examples of analytical intelligence
We've already given a glimpse into how analytical intelligence works in roles like science, business, and marketing, but it's really useful in other areas as well. If you're in a profession that requires clear thinking, number-crunching, or problem-solving, analytical intelligence would be a great tool to have at your disposal.
Here are some analytical intelligence examples:
Improving patient care at a health clinic
Increasing stock at a retail store to meet customer demand
Fixing a broken engine block on an automobile
Discovering a new drug that cures a disease
Designing a bridge that will support hundreds of cars traveling over a river every day
Writing a compelling news story based on a current event
Evaluating world finance markets to recommend investment opportunities
Adjusting conservation strategies to preserve ecosystems
Debugging software to improve uptime
Creating a new curriculum based on student performance data to increase test scores
As you can see, it doesn't matter what field you're in, analytical intelligence is very useful.
Do you possess analytical intelligence?
At this point, you may be asking yourself, “How do I know if I'm analytical?” You can perform some self-assessments and take some quizzes to find out:
Self-assessment: Take a moment to reflect on your problem-solving style. Do you often break down complex issues into smaller parts to understand them better? Do you rely on data and evidence to make decisions rather than going with your gut feeling? If you answered "yes," you likely have analytical tendencies.
Analytical thinker quiz: Many quizzes and assessments are available online to help you to identify your thinking style; use your preferred online search platform and look up the term "analytical thinker quiz," and you'll be presented with quite a few. These quizzes often ask questions related to your problem-solving approach, decision-making, and how you handle information, and can provide valuable insights into your analytical intelligence.
Tips for developing analytical skills
However, even if you discover that you're not very good at analytical thinking, you can enhance your skills. Improving analytical intelligence is an ongoing process that requires regular practice. It's a good idea to work on analytical intelligence skills even if you're more of a creative thinker, because everyone runs into issues at some point in life or at work that require logical thinking.
A great way to increase analytical intelligence is by questioning assumptions and seeking evidence to support your beliefs and decisions. You can also engage in activities that challenge your analytical abilities, such as puzzles, brain teasers, and logic games. If you read a lot of books, articles, and research papers on topics that require analytical thinking, you can expand your knowledge and stimulate your mind. Additionally, analyze real-world situations and problems in your daily life and break them down into smaller components. Identify patterns, and consider multiple perspectives before making decisions.
Don't allow challenges to overwhelm you. Instead, embrace them and view them as opportunities to enhance your problem-solving skills. Collaborate with others on projects that involve analytical thinking, because different perspectives can lead to more comprehensive solutions. It's also a good idea to seek feedback from peers or mentors to refine your analytical thinking and decision-making processes.
Your new superpower
Analytical intelligence plays a major role in everyone's life and, because of that, it's less a skill and more a superpower – especially considering that we all live in a world of information overload and rapid change. In some instances, analytical intelligence could be the very thing that opens doors to new opportunities, propelling you toward innovation and excellence at work and in life.
The bottom line is that, because the world at large needs people who can give insight and clarity into what's going on, analytical intelligence becomes a huge asset that you should grab onto - even if that means you need to practice to improve your skills.
Some of those doors to new opportunities will need the help of a powerful resume to open. Is yours ready to tell the story of your analytical intelligence abilities? Upload it for a free review and find out.