5 years, 1 month ago

Connective thinking is rare, crucial – 1959 Essay by Isaac Asimov on Creativity

Connective thinking ability cited as key trait in newly published Isaac Asimov essay on Creativity: But what if the same earth-shaking idea occurred to two men, simultaneously and independently? Perhaps, the common factors involved would be illuminating. Consider the theory of evolution by natural selection, independently created by Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace. There is […]

5 years, 10 months ago

The future belongs to systems thinkers

I’ve often said the future belongs to the dot-connectors. Webber’s Rule of Thumb #7, the System is the Solution, describes it perfectly:

My point is that embedded in every company, in every organization, is a system. When you see the system and not just the individual pieces you increase your chances of winning.

Most people look at a company and see the organization chart. Or the pyramid of functions. Or the products and services the company offers as output.

Systems thinkers see the relationships, not the functions. They see the processes, not the stand-alone components or the final products. It’s the difference between looking at a fence and noticing the barbed wire running horizontally rather than the fence posts standing vertically.

Sometimes it helps to do something as simple as drawing a picture with arrows to show what would otherwise be invisible connections. A drawing of a three-legged stool isn’t a sophisticated operations chart, but it makes the point about how magazines need to operate as a system.

Systems thinking can also help when you’re trying to solve a perplexing problem. If you want to untangle the clues as to how something went wrong, think like a detective: figure out who all the players are and how they relate to each other. Usually it’s the system, not one person or department, that explains the real cause of the problem.

One thing is sure: the future belongs to systems thinkers.

For extra credit, see Rule #10 A Good Question Beats a Good Answer:

Why do questions matter more than answers? If you don’t ask the right question, it doesn’t matter what your answer is. And if you do ask the right question, no matter what your answer, you will learn something of value.

Questions are how we learn. Which means questions are how we create change…

Source: Webber, Alan M. (2009-04-10). Rules of Thumb (p. 32). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

5 years, 11 months ago

11 Rules for Critical Thinking via Brain Pickings

From the fantastic Brain Pickings:

“Dubbed Prospero’s Precepts, these eleven rules culled from some of history’s greatest minds can serve as a general-purpose guideline for critical thinking in all matters of doubt:

  1. All beliefs in whatever realm are theories at some level. (Stephen Schneider)
  2. Do not condemn the judgment of another because it differs from your own. You may both be wrong. (Dandemis)
  3. Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider. (Francis Bacon)
  4. Never fall in love with your hypothesis. (Peter Medawar)
  5. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories instead of theories to suit facts. (Arthur Conan Doyle)
  6. A theory should not attempt to explain all the facts, because some of the facts are wrong. (Francis Crick)
  7. The thing that doesn’t fit is the thing that is most interesting. (Richard Feynman)
  8. To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact. (Charles Darwin)
  9. It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so. (Mark Twain)
  10. Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong. (Thomas Jefferson)
  11. All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed, second, it is violently opposed, and third, it is accepted as self-evident. (Arthur Schopenhauer)”

via Was Shakespeare Shakespeare? 11 Rules for Critical Thinking | Brain Pickings.

5 years, 11 months ago

Link: Elon Musk’s Secret Weapon: A Beginner’s Guide to First Principles – Microlancer Blog

“Meaning: rather than taking what already exists as the basis of our thinking, we break the problem down to its most fundamental truths and examine each piece. Even though a problem has already been solved, we start from the problem’s most basic elements to reexamine whether a better solution might be possible.”

“…Reasoning from first principles helps to ensure that you develop the smartest, leanest possible solution to a problem. It may even result in some astounding innovations. The downside is that it’s a much harder path than reasoning from analogy. A one-question problem now becomes a 100 question problem. But when you’re working on something that truly matters to you, this process of hard thinking will truly be worth it.”

Source: microlancer
via Diigo

6 years, 1 month ago

The Business? No!

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From Baked Idea, this scathing critique of a favourite enterprise architecture cliche…

“Unless you are some sort of corporate stowaway that has secreted yourself into an organisation just for shits and giggles, you are part of ‘the business’…

There is no gigantic creature called ‘The business’ sitting in your stationery cupboard saying “no!”..

Referring to ‘the business’ is a sign of laziness. It is a sign that you can’t be arsed to put the effort into thinking about your context…

7 years, 7 months ago

Entrenchment: What we have is a thinking problem

On May 1 — while sacrificing yet another shirt to a hotel iron — I had an epiphany of sorts, which I immediately tweeted:

“Legacy isn’t the big IT problem. Entrenchment is. Entrenched investments, mindsets, skills, business process & information wiring. -me, now”

Shortly afterwards, I followed up with:

“what we have isn’t a technology problem, it’s a thinking problem.”

Based on the huge (positive) response from the community on twitter, I shared that I was inspired to elaborate my tweets to an Entrenchment essay.

So far though, the time for long-form thinking and writing alludes me. [Not to mention good hotel irons].

In the interim, I’ve been tweeting under an #entrenchment hashtag, and more recently, scribbling entrenchment bursts.

Convincing myself these bursts could be considered micro-essays, I’m going to share them on elemental links, under a new entrenchment category.

Someday, they may evolve into a cohesive essay, or daresay something longer. But for now, I’m going micro.

I hope they provoke some re-thinking. Feedback encouraged.

Series starts with On enterprise blueprinting