In our recent post A Thinkibility Home Trainer we said that we found a home trainer for thinking. A site that strives towards:
Thinkers arrange facts and experience to see more clearly.
Thinkers surprise themselves with new insights.
Thinkers like discipline and focus rather than drift.
Thinkers like to change their minds.
Thinkers can be of any age.
Thinkers never think their thinking is good enough.
The site is called Practise Thinking and is designed by Phil Bachmann.
The site enables you to ask the crowd to perform some thinking for you, or to practice and show off your own thinking.
Among the subjects are thinking tasks that doesn’t have any purpose other than for fun or training. Topics and problems such as:
What is important when a kid is making a cake?
What is important for building a rocket ship?
How many uses can you think of for a cup?
Ways to calculate 100-40+58?
What if you could only talk for one hour per day?
How to prevent shark attacks?
Other thinking tasks are more serious and future oriented – what are the consequences of a downgrade of U.S. Credit Rating or a massive introduction of 3D-printers?
There also subjects for creative evaluation, f.i. raising salaries for teachers by three, a list of the least popular songs of the month, or fixed prices in supermarkets are replaced by “make me an offer”?
Some thinking tasks ask for thinking about more abstract things, like concepts, function, purpose or dominant ideas. What is the concept of a stoplight for a museum? What could be the purposes of public transport or books written for toddlers? What is the dominant idea of taking medicines or a philharmonic orchestra ?
Sometimes participants bring in personal problems such as my partner and I are planning our wedding and…, or a friend has been sharing a house with me for a year. He has now used up his last month’s rent that I have paid for him.
Using a structured thinking technique, or function – a specific task with a precisely defined input and output- , is mandatory. There are now at least 23 functions, and descriptions and examples are provided. Applying the functions stimulates to come up new lines of thoughts and enhance the breadth and depth of the thinking.
The design is of utmost simplicity but sophisticated.
It is not possible to look for contributions of other thinkers before you have given your own input. This prevents laziness, as thinking laziness is the worst kind of laziness.
There is also no opportunity to react or discuss contributions. As such this site is the first that implement in its software the concept of parallel thinking. As Wikipedia explains:
“Parallel thinking is defined as a thinking process where focus is split in specific directions. When done in a group it effectively avoids the consequences of the adversarial approach (as used in courts). In adversarial debate, the objective is to prove or disprove statements put forward by the parties (normally two). This is also known as the dialectic approach. In Parallel Thinking, practitioners put forward as many statements as possible in several (preferably more than two) parallel tracks. This leads to exploration of a subject where all participants can contribute, in parallel, with knowledge, facts, feelings, etc. Crucial to the method is that the process is done in a disciplined manner, and that all participants play along and contribute in parallel. Thus each participant must stick to the specific track.”
The site can be used as a home trainer to maintain your thinking skills or for leisure time when others prefer to do word puzzles or sudoko’s. Sometimes it is hard work but also fun!
If you have a problem or just a subject you want to think about, you could ask people to join and to spur the thinking. Again and again I have been surprised – or a little disappointed in myself – by the thinking of other contributors.
Personally I use it as a Thinking Agenda, a list with topics not to forget to think about. It compels myself to a structured and systematic approach and by publishing the question I can’t disappoint other contributors by coming up with sloppy thinking or nothing at all.
Many times I have experienced that merely publishing a question on the site makes me receptive for newspapers items or articles on the Internet about the topic.
Often I did some additional study about the published question.
Putting thinking tasks on this site seems to have prepared my mind to notice things I was not prepared to notice before.
The creator of the site:
“Perhaps what pleases me most about the site is that it allows truly excellent thinkers to lead and shine. I hope to be one day regarded as the thinker’s equivalent of whoever created Wimbledon: Just as we need a world-class tennis tournament to allow the skills of a champion to be properly demonstrated, we need a place where good thinking is acknowledged and applauded.” – Phil Bachmann
Skills need maintenance, try Practise Thinking. At the moment there is no fee involved in using this site.