How to be a brilliant thinker

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  • Publié le : 7 avril 2011
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1. The need for different thinking

• We are creatures of our habits: analytical, convergent, critical, left-brain thinking.

• We express our thinking in different forms: memos, e-mails, equations, accountants, pictures, models, oratory and stories.

• Convergent thinking (We are trained at school and university to summarize, scrutinize and evaluate the works of authors andscientists) and divergent thinking (we can generate all sorts of ideas that are not obviously connected with the original challenge or concept. We stretch the boundaries and let our imagination generate many different possibilities)

• Problem: We have a set of beliefs and assumptions and we look for evidence that bolsters this mindset.

• Solution: let’s recognize that there are manydifferent views of the world and that each is incomplete. We need both convergent thinking and divergent thinking.


2. Consider the opposite

• five reasons why people are remarkably resistant to changing their beliefs:

← They avoid exposing themselves to evidence hat might disprove their beliefs.

← On receiving such evidence they oftenrefuse to believe it.

← The existence of the belief distorts their interpretation of new evidence so as to make it consistent with the belief.

← People selectively remember items that are in line with their beliefs.

← People want to protect their self-esteem.

• We have to suspend our belief set and ask the question ‘What if?’ What if every assumption we are making is wrong?The brilliant thinker is uncomfortable with certainty. He is comfortable with ambiguity, with multiple possible explanations and with uncertainty.


3. Confront assumptions

• How to do?

← Start by recognizing that you have ingrained assumptions about every situation.

← Ask plenty of basic questions in order to discover and challenge thoseassumptions.

← Write a list of all the ground rules and assumptions that apply in your environment and then go through the list and ask “What if we deliberately broke this rule?”

← Pretend you are a complete outsider and ask Q like ‘Why do we do it this way at all?’

← Reduce a situation to its simplest components to take it out of your environment.

← Restate a problem incompletely different terms.


4. Analyse problems

• Benefits of problem analysis: it (above all as a part of team, with many teams)

← Stops you making premature judgements and jumping to the wrong conclusions.

← Challenges your assumptions.

← Gives you fresh insights into the real causes of the problem.

← Helps you to seeconnections between underlying causes.

← Can give you a road map for solving the problem.

← Helps prioritize where you should put your efforts.

• tools used for problem analysis

← The path to the ideal

← Why, why? : You write the problem on a large piece of paper and then ask why it happens (or happened). You list the major reasons and then for each of these you askwhy. You can go down as many levels as you want until you have built as full a picture as possible of all the causes of the problem.

← Six serving men: You use the six words ‘what’, ‘why’, ‘when’, ‘how’, ‘where’ and ‘who’ to probe the issue. Each is used in a positive and negative context, giving 12 questions.

What |Why |When |How |Where |Who | | What isn’t |Why do not |When do not |Howdo not |Where do not |Who does not | |

← Lotus blossom



5. Ask questions

• Start with very basic, broad questions. Examples of open questions are:

← What business are we really in? What is our added value?

← Why do you think this has happened?

← What are all the things that might have caused this problem?...
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