Thinking about Thinkbility – Mind Map

What is thinkibility?

“Thinkibility is about the agility and skill in thinking. A biological approach to thinking, where it is assumed that thinking takes place in an environment and the characteristics of the environment influences the end results. Thinkibility is concerned with describing ways to create environments that lead to “fruitful” end results.”

OqD4TM1438183201The blog post Thinkibility Ultimately Explained  uses videos and text to explain some aspects of the concepts. In this blog post we explore a visual tool to examine the concept that we invented to describe what makes thinking special.

Making a mind map of ideas and concepts is widely acknowledged as a very powerful learning tool. A mind map is a visual tool used to create, manage, and exchange information and knowledge.Yet, it can also be used to as a thinking tool to get ideas and solve problems or to explore emotions and feelings – we will dive into this topic more in upcoming blog posts.

Now we will let the mind map speak for itself and we hope that it gives our readers a better understanding of thinkibility. And to make this a bit more practical, why not  try some of the thinkibility exercises that we designed last year for our T29 challenge? Like rearranging things or making your thinking 3D. All the 29 thinking challenges can be downloaded here for free.

Thinkibility 4

Thinkibility 6

Thinkibility 8

Volvo, LifePaint, Airbags and Expanding Concepts and Markets

“The best way to survive a crash is not to crash”

What should a car manufacturer focus the attention on?

What ideas are embedded in the concept car manufacturer?

Cars! Of course a car manufacturer deals with developing the best, safest, fastest, most energy-efficient cars. But what if we extend the concept  “car manufacturer” and look at other things and people who are also using the road at the same time. Like bicycles and pedestrians. Is there a market that a car manufacturer can explore?

Swedish car manufacturer Volvo has briefly turned its attention to bikes, working alongside UK design firm Grey London and Albedo100 to create LifePaint to make the roads safer. LIfePaint is a water-based reflective spray, which is only visible at night. More than 19,000 cyclists are injured on the UK’s roads every year and at Volvo they believe that the best way to survive a crash is not to crash. The company is committed to making the roads a safer place and the paint may help to reduce the number of accidents.


Another important aspect is the safety of pedestrian and in 2013 Volvo introduced the world’s first car with external airbags to help protect pedestrians from serious head and neck injuries. The airbag is located under the hood and inflates at the base of the windshield. This solution enables the driver to see ahead.


To push the idea with pedestrian safety even further, the car manufacturer designed a pedestrian detection system. If the driver does not react fast enough, the car’s brakes apply automatically when  a pedestrian steps in front of the vehicle.

This idea can be further developed to include animals. Accidents involving elks,  reindeer, deer and other animals can lead to serious accidents. And cars are also responsible for the death of many smaller animals such as hedgehogs. . .

Think about the safest way of using your products and see if you can extend the concept to involve other aspects. Maybe you will end up with not only a safer way of using your products but also a completely new product.

Laugh Yourself to New Ideas!


The King Arthur Round  Swing Table has some of the right attributes to transform a dull meeting into a creative exploration. Thinking is movement and I can just imagine my thoughts swirling around freely while I gently swing back-and-forth. Ideas are free to take off and start a new life.

Listen carefully and you can hear the room being transformed into a laughter-filled place.

Laughter and humour are important factors to consider when looking at teamwork. More creative ideas may emerge if you create a relaxed and open atmosphere where humour are welcome.

A study by Nale Lehmann-Willenbrock and Joseph Allen showed that “humor patterns triggered positive socioemotional communication, procedural structure, and new solutions.”  The teams worked better when everyone laughed together and encouraged the humour of others.

To create this atmosphere where humour and laughter feel natural is not always easy. It is important that the participants feel secure in their job positions to encourage them to suggest more creative ideas. It is the dynamics between the team members more that the occasional joke or moments of elevated moods that influence the quality of the thinking.

Idea generation requires a brave and bold approach to the topic. Asking “crazy” questions is an important part when exploring a topic and let’s be honest some questions may seem at first sight irrelevant and silly.

Question asking is vital to ensure that good quality ideas are suggested. For the focus should always be on quality ideas rather than creating a collection of ideas. To enhance the chances of getting those ideas that stand out, big ideas, ideas with a vision, it is a good start  to create a suitable atmosphere.

Although it is undeniable that the ambiance of a meeting room and the physical position of the attendees to each other do have a huge impact on the interaction between them, it is also the other way around.
When someone comes up with a “crazy” idea – a standard thinking pattern is broken – laughter will automatically follow.
So, a loose and playful ambiance will naturally lead to more loose and playful thinking and, if allowed, an idea will be welcomed with laughter, wat is a sign of forgiveness.
In such a climate, permission arises to come up with wild ideas, ideas that at first seem to be impossible. Being prepared for a meeting is important, so it is good to have some nearly impossible ideas ready before the meeting and to bring those to the table..

You can buy the King Arthur Round Swing Table here.

Ish – Thinking – Thinkibility Boost

As an introduction to a series of blogposts about conceptual thinking we will start by paying attention to “ISH-Thinking”. A concept is an abstract pattern in the brain that stands for some regular, recurrent aspect of the world, and to which  any number of different words can be attached. Sometimes ago we already pointed out the relation between thinking and language, as in our posts How Thinking Patterns are CreatedBanging the World into Sorting Boxes and Key Concepts as Optical Filters. As we see in the picture below a toddler is confronted with a an almost insoluble problem. He has to place a square block in a box, which, however, only has openings in the form of a circle and a triangle. ISH-thinking

Perhaps the toddler might solve the problem by redefining the block as two pyramids stuck together. The block is “pyramid-ish” and might fit the triangle opening.

In our daily lives, we often try to give meaning to a diffuse situation by drafting a metaphor that is more or less “like-ish”. Mostly the metaphor does not fit exactly, at least not literally.

  • by doing that he stuck a knife in my back
  • I feel butterflies in my belly
  • at this moment she is very instable
  • their relationship is stormy

Mostly we don’t have any problem at all in using these ill-defined concepts. It helps us to articulate confusing and in particular emotional situations to “get grip on them”. Less prevalent is “ish-thinking” to describe seemingly well-defined physical objects. You will rarely hear someone who discusses a concrete thing (a bridge, a museum, a coffee shop) as ” thing-ish” like bridge-ish, museum-ish, coffee shop-ish). Yet, Starbuck is coffee shop-ish. Also, a kind of museum which would work like a modern library could be called museum-ish or library-ish: Art-works will be transported from the basement to the museum room at the request of the museum visitor, like in libraries with books.

And this is surely “bridge-ish”:


In this instance it’s about inviting people to cross a body of water in an unconventional manner… by using an inflatable bridge equipped with giant trampolines.

Is it a bridge or is it a gigantic trampoline? Or both, or more or less?

We are sure that the moment you begin to think about an ish-bike, an ish-refrigerator, sunglasses-ish or a sweater-ish for the winter, you will get rid of existing preconception on how they should look. Instead, you may  start to think about alternative forms and functions. That is because by adding the suffix “ish” to the noun, you give yourself permission to think in alternative designs. We came across a similar idea (Ïsh-thinking- ish”) in Fuzzy Concepts:

A fuzzy concept is a concept of which the boundaries of application can vary considerably according to context or conditions, instead of being fixed once and for all. This means the concept is vague in some way, lacking a fixed, precise meaning, without however being unclear or meaningless altogether. It has a definite meaning, which can become more precise only through further elaboration and specification, including a closer definition of the context in which the concept is used.”

There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept. fuzzy conceptTo follow our future series on Conceptual Thinking, subscribe to the blog

Twisted Faces and Emoijs!


How do you know which emoticon to use?

An emoticon is a pictorial representation of facial expressions. These little pictorial images are an important tool to use when communicating by using technology. The absence of body language and prosody makes is tricky to interpret  a person’s feelings or mood. A range of tones and feelings can be portrayed by using these emoticons but emotions and feelings are tricky.

In the video below you can see the actor Guy Pearce when he tries with mixed success recreate Emoji emoticons. Why not test to make some yourself next time you look into the mirror.

The emoji painting was made by Yung Jake using the emoji paintbrush tool, You can also use this tool to engage in some emoji creativity.

You can see  Yung Jake’s creations on his Twitter page, and make your own like we did at


If you want some thinking exercises about emotions, look at T29 day 13-15. You can read more about the thinking exercises, emotions, intuitions and feelings if you click here.

ggggPhoto: Emoji Larry David, Yung Jake, 2015

LEGO Rich!

“Are you LEGO rich? Do you have an idea for a LEGO set? And are you a Creative consumer?”

Yes, adults play with LEGO too and there are over 250.000 registered members of LEGO User Groups throughout the world. LEGO, one of the most creative brands in the world, is using its fan community to develop ideas. The company has over 10 million Facebook fans.

Watch this wonderful inspiring TED talk about the dark ages of LEGO and how to be LEGO rich and spending time playing and learning.

Traditionally companies have looked for ideas within the company but this approach is changing. Today, consumers are encouraged by some companies to be engaged and involved in the development of products. Companies such as LEGO has recognized the power and creative ideas of its fan base. Instead of passive consumers, creative and engaged consumers’ ideas are used and valued.

Several changes have lead to this approach, among them the easier access to the market and people. This means that perception of a distant consumer has changed and it makes sense to use and develop consumers’ ideas. Consumers have after all insight into their own needs and desires. However, it is important to note that consumers are not always right and often there is a need to develop their ideas and suggestions.

The LEGO user groups are not owned by the LEGO group instead they are groups that exist both online  and offline that are run and owned by the users themselves. Thus, the communities are self-organized and self-owned.

The LEGO group uses a platform where users can upload their ideas and other users help to select interesting ideas. The company they co-creates products and an user’s idea may become part of the LEGO product assortment. The person entering an idea gets compensation if the original idea is commercialised.

It starts with an “idea”—a spark of inspiration.

LEGO Ideas accepts your ideas for new LEGO sets in the form of a “project.” A project includes photos of a LEGO model you create as well as a written description that becomes your proposal for a potential LEGO product.”

Can you use a similar approach in your company? Or can you sell this idea to a company?

Here is a link to a success story and some pictures of the product. You may also like the blog post about Creativity the LEGO-way.