Smart Thinking

Eclectic Perspective: From Draw Toast to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave

Wicked Problems, Critical Thinking and Logical Fallacies – from Draw Toast to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.

This week, we are drawing toast, examining logical fallacies, playing innovation games and asking ‘3 probing questions.’

Let’s power walk through the highlights…

Draw Toast Systems Thinking

Eclectic Perspective: From Draw Toast to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.

Warming up – Let’s Make Toast

Tom Wujec in his TED talkGot a wicked problem? First, tell me how you make toast” challenges participants to sketch the seemingly simple and standard process of making toast. His ‘gallery of toast making‘ highlights the significant diversity and creativity of participant’s solutions. If you are intrigued by the problem solving power of toast, check our Wujec’s site for an amusing, light and engaging introduction to Systems Thinking and Wicked Problem Solving.

What is your fallacy?

Humans have occasional bugs in their critical thinking routines. Thou shalt not commit logical fallacies is a power resource to help you debug and fix yourself and others. Print out the excellent Logical Fallacy Poster and refer to it often.

If you are in search of critical thinking and problem solving ‘power ups’ visit Mind Tools. In particular, check out the Toolkit section of the website for multiple problem solving models and examples of their use.

So what?, What if? and What next?

Augment ‘who, what, why, where, when’ with 3 additional questions – So what? What if? and What next? Internalise this article on Critical Thinking describing their application and experiment with questions such as:

  1. So what if toast making is a non-standard process?
  2. What if Google drew toast?
  3. What’s next for toast?

Prune the Product Tree

Playful Agilists will enjoy a game of Prune the Product Tree (to help you think about product features and trade-offs) and Speed boat / Sail boat which is a technique for Sprint retrospectives at Conteneo’s Collaboration Cloud – Innovation Games. You might also enjoy my recent thoughts on the Scrum Values and High Performance Agile Teams which discuses a diverse range of techniques and resources.

The Gig Economy

Last week I interviewed the CEO of recruitment startup InteriMarket, Bhumika Zhaveri. She told me all about the ‘Future of Work’ and the emerging Gig Economy. Loop back and check out what she had to say about the changing nature of interim recruitment.

Philosophical Thinking

The introspective nature of toast drawing may lead you to contemplate profound existential questions. If so, take the following steps:

Start with – The School of Life from the scintillating Alain de Botton. Spend no less than three hours exploring their YouTube channel.

Next go to8-bit philosophy  ensuring you familiarise yourself with (at a minimum) Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.

You’re now ready to immerse yourself in the splendour of Bryan Magee and vintage philosophical discussions with luminaries including Bernard Williams and Anthony Quinton from his 1978 programme “Men of Ideas” and the 1987 “The Great Philosophers” with Martha Nussbaum and Frederick Copleston. I advise all but the most adept to limit their viewing to 1-hour at a time, with regular breaks for toast drawing and Agile game playing.

Share something eclectic

Found something unmissable and wonderful? Drop the breadcrumbs into the comments and let me know about other problem solving, critical thinking and philosophical goodies out there…

By Steve Nimmons

Steve is a Certified European Engineer, Chartered Engineer, Chartered Fellow of the British Computer Society, Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, Royal Society of Arts, Linnean Society and Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. He is an Electric Circle Patron of the Royal Institution of Great Britain, a Liveryman and Freeman of London and serves on numerous industry panels. He is a member of Chatham House, the Royal United Services Institute and the Chartered Institute of Journalists.

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