Thinking in Images

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Most people think in words. When asked to imagine a traffic accident they come up with not very detailed descriptions, in comparison with people who are thinking in pictures. It became even worse if the words are becoming more and more abstract. Words as society, market, law, inflation etc. stay for them just words; they are unable to convert the words into images. Picture thinkers don’t have to translate, they think in pictures.

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As school systems are mainly auditory-sequential oriented, it is not surprising that mainly visual-spatial thinkers will have problems at school. Usually, they encounter learning difficulties. But not only at school. Most picture thinkers don’t fit well in traditional companies and institutions. They do things in other ways than expected or “normal”, due to “weaknesses” in thinking.

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Picture thinkers are also called right-brainers, as some popularisations oversimplify the science about lateralization, by presenting the functional differences between hemispheres as being more absolute than is actually the case.

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We have also committed to this theoretical sloppiness with left/right brain generalisations, although, a handy mini theory to generate creative ideas as we have demonstrated in Blocking the Left Brain Functions.

As we wrote in left brain/right brain thinking, the debate regarding about what goes on in our left and right brain hemispheres seems like a never-ending story. You will find support for the idea that creative people use the right hemisphere while people who are good at organising things are using their left hemisphere. But we can also find support for the idea that creative and non-creative thinking are not two different things but are more reinforcing each other.

The idea that the brain has different specialised functions that can be used to improve memory, learning and thinking are also the part of the foundation behind mind mapping.

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A Whole New Mind: Why Right-brainers Will Rule the Future, a book by Daniel H. Pink, posits that the future of global business belongs to the right-brainers. He outlines six essential senses:

  • Design – Moving beyond function to engage the sense.
  • Story – Narrative added to products and services – not just argument.
  • Symphony – Adding invention and big picture thinking (not just detail focus).
  • Empathy – Going beyond logic and engaging emotion and intuition.
  • Play – Bringing humour and light-heartedness to business and products.
  • Meaning – the purpose is the journey, give meaning to life from inside yourself.

Daniel Pink is one of an increasing number of writers on the importance of the Conceptual Economy, as a follow-up of the Information and Knowledge Age. Conceptual economy is a term describing the contribution of creativity, innovation, and design skills to economic competitiveness, especially in the global context. Other contributors to our understanding of the conceptual economy include Tom Friedman’s The World is Flat, Tom Kelley’s The Art of Innovation and The Ten Faces of Innovation, explaining the role of assets such as empathy, storytelling, individual experiences and stimulating work environments in fostering creative ideas.

The discussion about the necessity to escape from dominant linear-sequential thinking was earlier argued by Howard Gardner. He developed The Theory of Multiple Intelligences in his 1983 book Frames of Mind:

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In one of our next blog posts, we will give hints and tricks together with some useful resources to become “picture smart”. An essential skill to use mind mapping to the fullest of its advantages.

More Soul, More Youthful Thinking and More Thinking Among Machines

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What is artificial intuition?

How can it be developed?

What if machines not only learn like children but also think like children?

What would happen if machines started to think together?

Bill Gates has suggested that robots should be taxed and that the money should be used to pay the people who have lost their jobs to robots. On the one hand, it makes sense to suggest that if robots will be depriving humans of work, then the company should simply pay tax for using their skills, and the money should be put into supporting the rest of society.  He also believes that certain jobs cannot be replaced by robots such as nurses and teachers.

Yet, perhaps we are just simply missing the point with using AI – Artifcial Intelligence. Perhaps AI offers a spark to kickstart a new way of building a society. A new way to ensure that everyone has a roof over their head and food on the table. New ideas are needed rather a simple application of the old practices.

The same thing could perhaps also be said about the way we think about machines and the way we design robots. If we look at perhaps the most transforming part of human history it is that we are not relying on individual thinking. Instead, the collaborative and collective thinking is one of driving forces behind our remarkable progress.

So perhaps we should focus on what potential there are among machines rather than within machines.

Moreover, the focus is often on building machines that can deal with increasingly higher volumes of data. Yet, to explore ideas such as building artificial intuition, may require that we instead look into ways that machines that use as little data as possible. Thin-slicing is a powerful concept. Designing machines that can improvise, without a script or a plot and react to new environments require new ways to approach the way we think about AI.

What if several machines could be connected to work intuitively on little information? Perhaps a solution could not be found by using this approach but maybe new insights and ways to approach a problem would emerge.

Children are the best learners. Developmental cognitive scientists and computer scientists have been working together to figure out how young children can learn so much so quickly. A problem with AI is that it has been very difficult to predict what aspects that would be most difficult to solve. Problems such as how to play chess and to detect statistical pattern have turned out to be fairly easy task to solve – admittedly. they could still be improved upon. Yet, a limited generalise can only be achieved from statistical learning, this is regardless of whether you are a child, an adult or a computer.

Children are often good at inventing new concepts and often their thinking is non-conventional – out-of-the box thinking. They link ideas and say things that do not make sense. Creating machines that could create new concepts and explore hypotheses that are not obvious could, just like listening to children, result in new insights.

What if you could transform the way we build AI? What would you do?

(Suggestion, read our other posts about intuition…..)

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What Big Data, what information dominance?

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A new adage is blowing around in the world of innovation. According to Wikipedia, The term “big data” often refers simply to the use of predictive analytics, user behavior analytics, or certain other advanced data analytics methods that extract value from data, and seldom to a particular size of data set. Analysis of data sets can find new correlations to “spot business trends, prevent diseases, combat crime and so on”.
It is reminiscent of an early US Navy doctrine, as a codification of beliefs or a body of teachings or instructions, taught principles or positions, as the essence of teachings in a given branch of knowledge or belief system. As such, it is a thinking pattern, in which is stated that “information superiority permits the conduct of operations without effective opposition”.
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However, in an electronic war game back in 2002 one aircraft carrier, ten cruisers and five out of six amphibious ships were sent to the bottom of the Persian Gulf in the span of just one hour, resulting in the virtual death of over 20.000 US service personnel.

It was the result of an asymmetric strategy by the opponent forces.

Red, commanded by retired Marine Corps Lieutenant General Paul K. Van Riper, adopted an asymmetric strategy, in particular, using old methods to evade Blue’s sophisticated electronic surveillance network. Van Riper used motorcycle messengers to transmit orders to front-line troops and World-War-II-style light signals to launch airplanes without radio communications.
Red received an ultimatum from Blue, essentially a surrender document, demanding a response within 24 hours. Thus warned of Blue’s approach, Red used a fleet of small boats to determine the position of Blue’s fleet by the second day of the exercise. In a preemptive strike, Red launched a massive salvo of cruise missiles that overwhelmed the Blue forces’ electronic sensors and destroyed sixteen warships (Wikipedia)It is the same kind of bold thinking we noticed in our blog Thinking outside the SeaMap:  “doing different things” or “escaping the temptation to do more-of-the-same but only better”.

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Military strategists distinguish between symmetric and asymmetric warfare. Symmetric warfare is characterized by standing armies that follows more or less the same tactics and organized in the same way. Their standard mode of operation can be traced back to Napoleonic Warfare.

Guerrilla warfare is an escape from fighting according to the rules imposed by the often far more powerful opponent. Therefore, this strategy is often applied by less powerful opponents. The most famous form is guerrilla warfare, next to terrorism.

Asymmetric competitor strategies could be an effective approach in business. Basically, it is not playing the game similar to the other companies, that is selling and marketing the same products as competitors but cheaper and better. It is about disruptive innovation, changing the rules in the market, by delivering a complete different product than you competitor does. It is all about gaining competitive advantage by creating an unique niche in the market. Playing another race at a different circuit.

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There is much more to say about the embarrassing destruction of the mighty US Navy, as the over reliance on technological superiority and information dominance. It’s all about big organizations and the neglect of intuition about the intentions and capabilities of the competitor.
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Asymmetry

There is much more to say about the embarrassing destruction of the mighty US Navy, as the over reliance on technological superiority and information dominance. Also, the neglect of intuition about the intentions and capabilities of the enemy.

Disclaimer: Now you have heard  about the advantage of disruptive innovation or step-out innovation and decide that your organization should do “some of that.” But most organizations are designed to do something else very well. Namely, what they are already doing. You may have a brilliant vision, you may have identified the next great idea, but organizational routines, standard Key Performance Indicators and existing organizational structures will prevent proper execution: The company will will continue to do what they are already doing succesfully: ” a tiny bit better and a tiny bit cheaper?” See “Why Big Companies Can’t Innovate” by Maxell Wessel.

See also the video: Disruptive Innovation Explained by Clay Christensen.

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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Feelings Are An Asset To Thinking

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Many people have the opinion that feelings distract thinking, and the best is to get rid of them.
We came across a view from Dennis Perrin who in contrast states: “Feelings are an asset to thinking”.
 
Dennis Perrin is running Thinking Training in the UK, providing courses in Lateral thinking, Six Thinking Hats and the Power of Perception.
We invited him to explore his idea that takes into account feelings that will improve your thinking. Here is his short essay on the topic.
 

Feelings are more important than thinking. In the end, thinking is for human happiness, projects, improvements, and ideas that create benefits. So, feelings have a very important place in thinking. This is why Dr de Bono created the Red Hat, a Hat specially for feelings, emotion, intuition, hunches, and yes, ideas.

Years ago, I used to think that the more emotional I was, the more likely it would be that God would answer a prayer. Children know that by crying or raising a tantrum, that their parents will then see to their needs. I remember at age 16 praying desperately for an answer to a decision I had to make: a choice between jobs. Even so, there is still the psychological element that works in prayer. The feelings are made clear. When the feelings are clear, the way is also clear for good and better thinking.

We need to make a habit, from time to time, to note our feelings on an issue. We don’t want our feelings either to dominate our thinking or to masquerade as our only thinking. We want our feelings clear as feelings (intuition etc.) only. For instance, let’s say a particular FB Post makes someone feel angry. The angry response can be posted under the Red Hat. Then some relevant factors (white hat) can be thought about. Or a post can simply say: These are my feelings. (Just state them.)

But don’t spend more than 30 seconds on just feelings.

Feelings are a hindrance if they are not stated clearly as a legitimate part of the thinking. They are also a hindrance if they are allowed to dominate any proceedings.

Feelings are an asset once they are stated since everyone then knows what they are. They are an asset when they are stated because further down the road in the thinking process the feelings can be looked at again. After some thinking, feelings often change. New perceptions change feelings.

Feelings should be looked at from time to time as a measurement. A typical Red Hat (feeling) response might be: “An hour ago I felt annoyed but after this thinking I feel happy.” Or: “My red hat tells me that I should think seriously about this issue before I make a final decision. I may want to change everything.”

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Thank you, Dennis!

 
 

Don’t Think That You Can Think (1) – *&;^#Grrrgrr#^&;*

In a previous blog post about the relation between contradictions and aggression we  suggested that on-going paradoxical messages could affect a person’s  mental health. Also, contradictions, if not noticed, can lead to feelings of  powerlessness and furious destructive aggression. The title of this post is such a contradiction or  a paradox.

Some of our readers have asked for some more examples or contradictions.  Here are some that  we collected over years. we admit that it needs some thinking effort to fathom the double meaning of some.

So, don’t read this. . .*&^#Grrrgrr”#^&*

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 "*&^#Grrrrgrr#^&*

  • Jim: “I don’t mean anything with this”. Suzy: “What do you mean with that?              Jim: Nothing”. Suzy: “*&^#Grrrrgrr#^&*
  • A protester carries a  sign above his head, saying: “Against protest”.
  • A check player to his opponent: “Afterwards we should decide who shall start?”
  • “My task is to teach you something, and your task is to listen”, a professor says to his students, and continues, ” If you are finished  listening, please tell me so I can stop teaching.”
  • A Neanderthal man had just invented the wheel, when a passing fellow tribesman asked him: “But how do you kill enemies with that thing?”
  • Mother: “I think sex is dangerous and dirty, but I like it when a boy gives  my daughter his attention.”

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  • Same mother: “Sons should be polite and tidy, but I love when they are rude and rowdy.”
  • Sam to Peter: ” Every time I ask you something, you deny it”. Peter (irritated): “Of course not!” Sam: “Look at you,  you’re getting angry “. Peter: “You are really mad, aren’t you?” Sam: “I said so, you are really aggressive”.
  • Here in our community we have only one rule and that is that there are no rules. . .
  • A waitress in a restaurant says to a customer: ” If you have any complaints about the staff, you should  talk with the boss’s wife”.
  • Carl: ” I  prefer not to put forward any of  my ideas”.
  • Wife to husband: ” You never give me flowers if I don’t ask for it”.
  • “If you are really powerful”, said the Devil to God, ” then make a boulder so huge you can’t lift it up”.
  • Boss at an employee: ” That’s what made our company great. You suggest ideas, and I shoot them off”.
  • A wife shows her just coiffed hair to her lover: “Do you like it?”. Lover: “It’s beautiful”. Wife: “Didn’t like you my previous hairstyle?” Lover: “Yes, sure!”. Wife: “But now not any longer?” And on and on until eternity. . .

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The examples above are funny but quite seriously. . .*&^#Grrrgrr”#^&*

Paradoxical messages can seriously paralyze human relations and even lead to schizophrenic behavior. However, at the same time paradoxical communication can also be used to jolt someone out of his current mindset. An interesting subject for another post.

Physical Ticket Machine – Thinkibility Nibble

Moscow Subway Ticket Machine Accepts Physical Exercise As Payment

To promote exercise and the 2014 Olympics, Olympic Changes installed a very special ticket machine at the Moscow subway station. Instead of accepting money as payment, the high-tech ticket machine only accepts exercise. Riders could receive a free ticket by standing in front of the machine’s camera.

We think it is interesting. But why is it interesting? Why did it caught our attention?

By the way, what is the concept of interesting?

interestingThis map was made by using the Thinkmap Visual Thesaurus, an excellent tool for explore your thinking.

Suddenly we have fifteen focus area to reflect why a Physical Ticket Machine is interesting. And that could help you to bring the idea further. Could you come up with ideas to improve the concept? Other applications? Other ways to carry out the concept? Comparable concepts?

We would like to hear your suggestions but consult first with your patent office.

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