E-commerce and Daily Thinking – A Thinkibility Nibble

In our blog post Daily Thinking – Discovering Patterns we showed some alarming daily thinking habits, like assuming that there is a linear, unambiguously relation between a cause and an effect. For example, it is assumed that increasing e-commerce will reduce traffic. People will less … Continue reading

More Soul, More Youthful Thinking and More Thinking Among Machines


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…..)



Hack Your Education

Hack Your Education

What if:

  • you are stuck in a narrow track, needing to find a job to pay off $27,000 in study debt and there are no jobs at all?
  • colleges doesn’t provide good education to succeed in a job?
  • sacred institutions like university ceases to exist?
  • you are allowed to join the real world before getting twenty-two?
  • only parents will teach their children how to read and write?
  • education becomes too expensive?
  • every student has her own teacher in every discipline?
  • you can design your own curriculum?
  • colleges would replaced by much better and cheaper distant learning systems?
  • the mental model of “go-to-school -> get-a-job -> marry -> get a loan for buying a house -> work-harder-and-longer -> get-loan-for-children’s education” doesn’t work any longer to have a satisfying life?

It is significant that Richard Branson when hiring looks  mainly for personality and only then to experience. Formal qualifications are the last things he looks at. Every job can to be learnt in three months.

As a good exercise in Thinkibility we suggest you to mention at least fifteen reasons why to go to an institution of higher education. And then every reason ponder over:

A. Why has it to be so? This has to be so, because ….

B. Is it really necessary to do it this way? Are there alternatives?

C. Is this really necessary? Can it be cut?

This creative technique is intended to unearth hidden assumptions. It is  known as “Do an ABC” and engineered by Edward de Bono.

Dale J. Stephens, founder of Uncollege just did it. In his fabulous book “Hacking your Education” he ditches the lectures, saved ten of thousands dollars, and learnt more than his peers ever will. You can listen his TEDx talk below.

Dale gives some 40 “Hacks of the Day” which are all clues for a self-directed future of higher education. We made a mind map of it as an overview. The mind map can be downloaded or explored in detail at Biggerplate  – he mind map library.  Just click on the mind map at the beginning of this post.

We are sure that even you are well educated and did your PhD years and years ago, you will benefit from it.

Practise Thinking


 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.  

A Thinkibilty Home Trainer?



The idea with using a home trainer is to improve your physical fitness. Physical fitness affects the body’s physiological functioning, overall health, and motor skill related to aspects such as agility, balance, and speed. A home-trainer is at hand; to help with exercises and there is no need to go to a fitness centre or gym.

Any home trainers for your thinking fitness?

There are some training program for brain fitness, like the ones from PositHealth, BrainTrain or Lumosity.

However, there are some doubts about the claims these programs have on improving cognitive functioning. In an article by Steven Novella in Science Based Medicine, the bottom-line recommendations were:

  • Engaging in various types of cognitively demanding tasks is probably a good thing.
  • Try to engage in novel and various different types of tasks. These do not have to be computer-based.
  • Find games that you genuinely find fun – don’t make it a chore, and don’t overdo it.
  • Don’t spend lots of money on fancy brain-training programs with dramatic claims.
  • Don’t believe the hype.

In addition, to us it seems that existing brain fitness exercises are derived from cognitive tests. Therefore, it is not surprising that cognitive skills, as defined by the tests, improves.

In our opinion, cognitive tests do not reflect thinking as referring to the ideas or arrangements of ideas that result from thinking, the act of producing thoughts, or the process of producing thoughts.

In Thinkibility Ultimately Explained we suggested that Thinkibility is a bit football-ity, similar to something shown by great football stars. It is not just agility and ball control. Nor velocity, or technical skills. It is more, much more. It has something to do with thinking movements, the ability to manipulate your thoughts or virtuosity in it.

Are there any Thinkibility home trainers?

We found one site that we regularly use for Thinking skills. But we will save that for another post. In the meantime, try out some of the mentioned brain trainers. Be aware that in summer holidays your Intelligent Quotient can decrease with several points. It seems that what is true for muscle fitness also applied for the brain: Use it or lose it. But it is vital to reload the batteries. So enjoy the summer heat!


The Secrets of the Sparking Thinkibility Blog

There are alternatives to reading blog posts in a linear and sequential way when they appear in the in-box. It is possible to read a blog, especially this one, in a more active and holistic manner by selecting a theme or tag.

If you want to learn about the nature of Six Hat Thinking, which is the subject of our forthcoming eBook,  then simply search for tags such as Black Hat Thinking, or Red Hat Thinking. You will get an overview of all the blog posts regarding Black Hat or Red Hat Thinking. This will help to deepen your insight in the use of the Six Thinking Hats in a playful and interesting way.

The same can be done by typing in a term from the “thinking jargon“. As all other disciplines, scholars of thinking have their own jargon, which have the function to communicate easily about defined concepts within the professional community. At the same time, it is used to create an in-group-out-group demarcation – to exclude outsiders. Be aware that thinking jargon can lead to group-think.

Examples of the jargon are Breaking Patterns, Simplicity, Use resources, Positive Bias, Ideal Final Result, Thinkibility, Provocation, System Thinking, Value, Contradiction, Reversal, etc.

We invite you to try some of your own terms. If you do not get any result, send us a mail. We will then prepare a blog post about the missing item.

Photo: “Ice Cube In Blue Light” by twobee