Extuition. And Why Consultants Invent Words

Photo by: Xava du

Photo by: Xava du

Have you ever noticed how consultants tend to invent words? My favorite invented word in recent years is “dimensionalize.” As in, “First we need to dimensionalize the problem.” It highlights one of the most common ways consultants invent words, which is verbing a noun. (If you’re reading carefully, you’ll notice that “verbing” is an example of that, too.)

I’m here to tell you, it’s not a plot against the world, or even a gambit to raise fees. Consultants are just, I dunno, endowed with the gift of neologism.

Case in point: I was out for a run yesterday and the word “extuition” invented itself in my head. I knew instantly what it meant: 

Extuition (noun): Intuition that is confirmed externally through objective experiments.

It’s a cool word for three reasons:

  1. It makes you look twice
  2. It’s the best way to create an improved future
  3. I invented it (or, rather, my consultant’s endowment for neologism did)

Obviously, point #2 carries the most weight in this case. I practice design thinking, and it can be thought of as a program to ritualize extuition. Think about it. Design thinking follows the steps of (1) empathize, (2) visualize, (3) co-create, and (4) iterate. Those four words would be the perfect second definition of extuition. 

So, I told my colleagues we should rename the firm Extuition. But they said we should be careful not to idiocratize the firm. Yeah, I can see that. Then they hid my running shoes.

What are your pet peeves about language and (dare I ask?) consultants? Please share them, so that we may speak like humans again. Leave a comment below or send me a message