Inflowsibly News and Rebuttlenessed

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“Today I read the most inflowsibly news. I felt absolutely rebuttlenessed after that.”

Gibberish but believable gibberish.  Two or the words, inflowsible and reuttlenessed, are nonsense words that are based on frequency lists of phonemes in the English language.

The term nonsense is used to describe something that lacks any coherent meaning. But perhaps it is not a fruitful approach to quickly dismiss nonsense as something negative and something that is useless. Nonsense is a way to destroy prevalent views or opinions.

Out of nonsense  grows the  imagination and new ideas may develop. Some nonsense may be more believable than other nonsense and some nonsense may be rather trivial in character and as a result, they do not offer a stepping stone for further exploration. But keep an eye open for the believable nonsense and write them down. Ponder over the underlying assumptions and ideas that dismissed in the nonsensical suggestion.  Listen to children they are often little experts at saying nonsense with a deeper meaning if you take the time to explore the suggestions.

Several scientific discoveries have been made based upon nonsensical  suggestions, for example,  Rutherford suggested that they should see if any alpha particles had been reflected back , which was nonsense since “the plum pudding model” that was used suggested that the particles should go through.

You can generate tricky words based on frequency list of phonemes as they occur in legitimate English words. Mostly gibberish. Go here.

 

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Creating Innovation in Large Networks

Business Networking People

Apart from traditional conferences, which tries to spread and share knowledge, innovation and change are mostly attributed to networking and informal contacts; however, there are some ways to help to rely less on informal networking.

Large Scale Interventions

Large Scale Interventions (or Large Group Facilitation) are ways of active influencing groups from 30 to 2000 persons in order to initiate change. It is a deliberately planned, organization-wide effort (or even across organizations) to increase effectiveness or to enable achieving strategic goals.

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Examples are:
• raising awareness of medicine safety at a medical conference
• establishing trust and cooperation between enterprises, research labs, universities and governmental agencies
• transfer of knowledge or innovations at industrial conferences
• improving social cohesion in neighborhoods

There are several forms of Large Group Interventions:
• Open Space
• World Cafe
• Six Thinking Hats
• Future Search

Open Space

Many people report that the most useful parts of a traditional conference are not the presentations held by expert speakers, but the networking and informal contacts in between. So why not skip the expert speakers and just limit a conference to what the participants are most interested in?

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Open Space Technology is an approach to purpose-driven leadership,including a way for hosting meetings, conferences, corporate-style retreats, symposium, and community summit events, focused on a specific and important purpose or task — but beginning without any formal agenda, beyond the overall purpose or theme.

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In Open Space Technology (an unconference) the attendees create the working agenda, as individuals post their issues in bulletin board style. Each individual “convener” of a breakout session takes responsibility for naming the issue, posting it on the bulletin board, assigning it a certain space and time to meet, and then later showing up at that space and time, kicking off the conversation, and taking notes. The conference is nearly totally self-organized, see here for examples.

World Cafe

The “World Café” is a structured conversational process intended to facilitate open and intimate discussion, and link ideas within a larger group to access the “collective intelligence” or collective wisdom in the room.

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Participants move between a series of tables where they continue the discussion in response to a set of questions, which are predetermined and focused on the specific goals of each World Cafe.

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The process begins with the first of three or more twenty-minute rounds of conversation for the small group seated around a table. At the end of the twenty minutes, each member of the group moves to a different new table. They may or may not choose to leave one person as the “table host” for the next round, who welcomes the next group and briefly fills them in on what happened in the previous round. See here for examples.

Six Thinking Hats

A lot of group discussions, especially when the group becomes large, bog down in arguments and   “scoring winning points”. As a result, discussion goes on for hours and participants lose interest.

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A way to prevent arguing and replacing it by exploration of a subject, the method of the Six Thinking Hats is used. It provides a means for groups to plan thinking processes in a detailed and cohesive way, and in doing so to think together more effectively, resulting in 3 times more ideas in 3 times less time. See here for examples.

Future Search

Future Search is the name for a 3-day planning meeting that enables people to cooperate in complex situations, including those of high conflict and uncertainty. The method typically involves groups of 40 to 80 people in one room and as many as 300 in parallel conferences.

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People follow a generic agenda, regardless of topic. It consists of 4 or 5 half day sessions on the Past, the Present, the Future, Common Ground, and Action Planning.

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Future Search methods have been used to design an integrated economic development plan in Northern Ireland, work with a Hawaiian community to reconnect with traditional values, and determine the future of urban mobility in Salt Lake City, Utah, among many other examples.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What if it was Great? Under-Celebrated Heroes!

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Have you noticed that in this blog the title of people who we refer to is not used? This is a conscious decision to make the reader evaluate the ideas rather than the person who is suggesting something.

Of course, this is a bit tricky since if you refer to a well-known person, everyone already knows all about the person. But the underlying idea is that readers should focus on the ideas rather than the person and what he or she has achieved so far in life.

A skilled thinker has developed the habit to always looking for positive, negative as well as interesting aspects with an idea. And a skilled thinker also knows that ideas are seldom perfect but can be used as a stepping stone to develop a better idea. Driven by curiosity there is a continuous search for interesting aspects.

In theory, ideas should be so powerful that regardless of the messenger or medium an idea can stand on its own and change the world. But in real life, great ideas are ignored and not evaluated. A famous person can suggest something mundane and still get lots of attention, while less famous people’s ideas are ignored. At a workplace, an idea suggested by a manager or team leader is regarded as great, but if an employee says the same thing it is ignored or regarded as moaning, non-constructive etc.

TED Talks have decided to create a platform of under-celebrated heroes. The talks are given anonymously. This is an opportunity for people who have the knowledge and the ideas but not the celebrity status to put forward their ideas. By not knowing who is suggesting something, you have to focus on the ideas and the message. Of course, this is something that we should do all the time.

Great ideas may also never reach a larger audience since a person may not like the spotlight or they may fear to lose their job or friends and loved ones. The chance to anonymously put forward your ideas and see if they can fly by themselves may encourage more people to give anonymous TED Talks.

The idea to let ideas speak for themselves is not new. The document Common Sense is a wonderful example. It was published anonymously during the American Revolution in 1776, written by Thomas Paine, it urged America colonists to declare independence from Great Britain.

What ideas would you like to share with the world – anonymously? What do you suggest to make life on Earth better?

And how do you practice on exploring the message and the idea rather than the person who suggested the idea?

P.S. What if we let the ideas in this blog stand for themselves and take away the name and the “About” page. How will you find our blog posts?

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Photo: IBM Poughkeepsie site, with the word “THINK”.

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Framing = To Lure into Deception

In this Thinkibility Boost we will explore the relation between thinking and framing.

In visual arts and particularly cinematography, framing is the presentation of the visual element in an image, especially the placement of the subject in relation to other objects.

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Framing can make an image more aesthetically pleasing and keep the viewer’s focus on the framed object(s).

Something similar happens with mass communication. In essence, framing theory suggests that how something is presented to the audience (called “the frame”) influences the choices people make about how to process that information. The basis of framing theory is that the media focuses attention on certain events and then places them within a field of meaning.  Framing involves social construction of a social phenomenon – by mass media sources, political or social movements, political leaders, or other actors and organizations.

Framing is in many ways tied very closely to Agenda Setting theory. Both focus on how media draws the public’s eye to specific topics – in this way they set the agenda. But Framing takes this a step further in the way in which the news is presented creates a frame for that information.

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Political Framing

This is usually a conscious choice by journalists – in this case, a frame refers to the way media as gatekeepers organize and present the ideas, events, and topics they cover.

Most of the time framing is a technique used by politicians or their advisers to favor a wished representation of the facts, usually when things went wrong.

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Political Spinning

This is called spinning. The main objective is to lure the public into  believing propaganda. A standard approach used in “spinning” is to reframe, reposition, or otherwise modify the perception of an issue or event, to reduce any negative impact it might have on public opinion.

Spinning might be discovered by misleading or false

  • Metaphors: To give an idea or program a new meaning by comparing it to something else. See for an analysis of political metaphor here.
  • Stories (myths and legends): To frame a subject by an anecdote in a vivid and memorable way. For an introductory text, see story telling in politics.
  • Traditions (rites, rituals and ceremonies): To pattern and define an organization at regular time increments to confirm and reproduce organizational values.
  • Slogans, jargon and catchphrases: To frame a subject in a memorable and familiar fashion. Here a list of political sloganscatch phrases, buzzwords and jargon.
  • Artifacts: To illuminate corporate values through physical vestiges (sometimes in a way language cannot). Look here for 25 Amazing Political Artifacts From the New-York Historical Society
  • Contrasts: To describe a subject in terms of what it is not. For an introduction read Contrast in Presentations Creates Contour

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Cold Cases –

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What could we learn from solved cold cases? What has caused that the case is solved after years of investigations without results? What were the reasons that a solution was waiting for discovery, but never did? Solved cold cases are illustrative for how we think wrongly.

In September 1961, 25-year-old Lucy Johnson, mother of one, was at her home in Surrey, British Colombia. She was not seen the next day. Or the next. Or for the next 52 years.
For one reason or another, Lucy was not reported missing until four years later. Obviously, this raised questions, and suspicion fell on her husband Marvin. Police even dug up the husband’s backyard in search of a body, but they found nothing. Decades passed, Marvin died, and there seemed no hope of solving the case.

 

According to Wikipedia, a cold case is a crime or an accident that has not yet been fully solved and is not the subject of a recent criminal investigation, but for which new information could emerge from new witness testimony, re-examined archives, new or retained material evidence, as well as fresh activities of the suspect.

However, it is not always new and fresh information that helps to solve the case, but new perceptions. Even new information tends to be interpreted in old perceptions. Information is not perception.

Lucy’s daughter Linda, a small child at the time of her mother’s vanishing posted ads in newspapers and other media outlets in search of clues. Then in 2013, she received a phone call. The woman on the other end of the line claimed to be Linda’s stepsister, whom she’d never known existed. The woman said their mother Lucy was alive and well, living with a whole new family in the Yukon.

 

Sometimes a viable suspect has been overlooked or simply ignored due to then-flimsy circumstantial evidence, the presence of a likelier suspect (who is later proven to be innocent), or a tendency of investigators to zoom in on someone else to the exclusion of other possibilities (which goes back to the likelier suspect angle)—known as “tunnel vision”

However unbelievable the claim sounded, Linda followed up it. Sure enough, her mother was not the victim of foul play as suspected. She’d simply fled to another life. Marvin had abused her, claimed Lucy, and when she’d tried to leave with her daughter, he’d stopped her. So she just took off on her own.

 

In our view, solved cold cases are excellent vehicles to study thinking methods, as what students and scientists are supposed to do at the  Thinkibility University. At its East Wing they are excellent in Reverse Engineering of Thinking Strategies we wrote earlier about.

When Linda visited the caller to check whether the woman in question was indeed her Laura, she recognized her mother immediately.

 

The people working there are not trained as criminal investigators but will use systematic and deliberate creative thinking techniques. Not only to improve forensic investigations but improving thinking methods in general. For scientific research as well for daily practical thinking.

As you might notice in the following mind map, little attention is given to the role of perception in this example of a  Crime Scene Investigator Job Description:

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The following books could be good starting points to be studied by the East Wing:

Solving cold cases happen when limiting thoughts and behaviors are challenged.

But how to challenge “limiting thoughts and behaviours”?

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Patterns in Medicine

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We came across a booklet that could be a good example for the kind of studies by the envisioned Thinkibility University. At its West Wing, scientists dissect the basic thinking patterns in a scientific discipline.

Siddhartha Mukherjee was asking himself: If there is a science of medicine, then science has laws. Physics has laws. Chemistry has laws. Biology has laws.

The simple question was: If that’s the case, then what are the laws of medicine? These were not meant to be universal commandments. These were meant to be explorations about principles that might hold true about medicine today and about medicine in the future. That was the framework for this book.

Law One : A strong intuition is much more powerful than a weak test.

Law Two: “Normals” teach us rules; “outliers” teach us laws

Law Three: For every perfect medical experiment, there is a perfect human bias

Watch or read here an interview with him about the book. You could also read the Ted book: The Laws of Medicine Field – Notes from an Uncertain Science

For us, Gijs and Asa, it is not the description of the laws of a scientific discipline that interests us – how interesting they are by itself but the possibility they give to escape from it. Once spelled out, laws are just vehicles to set up new approaches.

In short, at the West Wing of the Thinkibility University, they are thinking laterally about science.

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We have earlier written about patterns in science and possible escapes from them in the following blogposts:

Our next post about the topic “Patterns in Science” will be about Patterns in Law. Could it be that in Western law assumptions are hidden that hinders us in modern times?

Not to miss?  Follow Thinkibility. The blog about Thinking, Creativity, Innovation and Design.

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Interesting Books? – Thinkibility Nibble

Literature can be classified according to whether it is fiction or non-fiction and whether it is poetry or prose; it can be further distinguished according to major forms such as the novel, short story or drama; and works are often categorized according to historical periods or their adherence to certain aesthetic features or expectations (genre).

But what about all those books that are not  “literariness” or “poeticity” but are written in ordinary daily speech. Books that do not have literary value, but only intellectual value. Books that shine on non-fiction bestsellers lists. Books that give discourses on, for instance, Crime and Punishment, Foreign Policy, Culture, Health, Politics, and Science.

One can safely assume that the majority of the books published each year (approximately 2,200,000) belong to mainstream thinking. Let’s say 90%, so there will be left some 220,000 interesting books worthwhile to read.

How to select these interesting books?

We suggest that books with intellectual value should be categorized by the publisher into categories:

  • Mainstream

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This book contains a description, interpretation or explanations of a situation, generally regarded as correct. It is defending the standard world view, a confirmation of the reality as constructed by the majority, or as some critics argue, as manufactured consent by the mass media;

  • Improvement

Many Pushing Up Green Arrow

This book contains suggestions for gradual, piecemeal, but cumulative betterment of mainstream thinking;

  • Criticism

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This book is  a disapproval of someone or something on the basis of perceived faults or mistakes. It judges the merits and faults of something. Books in this category do not necessarily imply “to find fault”, but the word is often taken to mean the simple expression of an objection against prejudice, or a disapproval of something. Often criticism involves active disagreement, but it may only mean “taking sides”. It could just be an exploration of the different sides of an issue.

  • Provocation and alternatives

This book challenges existing thinking, provides alternative explanations or contains a provocation of dominant worldviews. A major criterium for this category that it has been received by mainstream media as at least controversial, but more often as highly unlikely or even unscientific. If the book has made someone angry, it surely deserves the label provocative. The book is about  one or more things available as another possibility or choice or relating to activities that depart from or challenge traditional norms.

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