Thinking as a skill and an art

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Thinking as a skill and an art
Kevin Barry, Member, Student (Other), Australia

How we bring all elements of thinking together guided by intuition to tackle specific issues

Practical thinking is mainly an art rather than a science. Each situation you face that requires thought is unique. Therefore the strategy you use has to be unique to match the situation. The opportunity for greatest leverage is the deliberate application of lateral thinking at the front end of an issue so you escape from your inbuilt (and mostly unrecognised assumptions) and look at the issue from a variety of different perspectives. Framing the issue in deliberatively alternative ways will probably yield fresh views and insights. Resisting the temptation to close on an issue before you have to and keeping a number of parallel solution options alive until the time available forces you to decide is a useful generic strategy. You don't need a room full of people to brainstorm you can do that on your own. Mind Maps (Tony Buzan's tool) provide an excellent flexible, graphic, and organic framework which simply requires pen and paper. Edward De Bono's tools are excellent and they can be used in conjunction with mind maps. You only develop skill in using these tools by lots of reflective practise. Combine this skill with vertical (logical) thinking, mathematics, design, free-hand sketching and solid evaluation and you have a sound basis for getting fresh ideas.

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