Focus defines the input of information that defines the thinking, and by that, the conclusions, solutions or opinions derived from it. In a schedule: information (A) is semi-processed in a funnel (A,B,C) of biases, assumptions and conditions to a logical solution, opinion or conclusion (C). Area A is the focus area, the area where the perception of the problem takes place.
The focus area attracts facts, assessments, experiences, data, etc. that organizes itself in a thinking pattern that in itself accelerate the thinking like in a kind of Venturi tube.
Choosing the focus – or Point of Entry for the thinking – is quiet problematic. The focus area (A) is most vulnerable for perception errors. It defines the thinking funnel that nearly automatically leads to a predefined end result of the thinking. This phenomenon is also called cognitive bias.
In groups the focus area becomes even more complicated. Participants have each their own individual biases and standard thinking patterns and tend to modify the available information to fit in.
At first sight you might think that the variety of thinking patterns would lessen thinking errors caused by biases. However, group dynamics prevent that. This is also the biggest shortcoming of brainstorming. In an image: many great ideas (left) but the biggest man with the most boring idea wins (right):
To conclude: choosing the focus for the thinking is vulnerable for cognitive biases and group dynamics. Both aspects of thinking are highly neglected.
More about Focus: Focus, Questions about Questions and A More Beautiful Question. More about collaborative thinking and group dynamics: Thinking like Kickboxing, Remedies for Groupthink and Parallel Thinking