We began the day by examining our mental constructs, how we form ideas and where our beliefs about the world come from. We learned how our brain gathers data and from that data we form pictures of the world and that these pictures are always incomplete representations. Based on those incomplete mental maps, we make assumptions, draw conclusions, form beliefs, make decisions and take action. We tend to ignore the less significant and avoid complexity but it is in examining the less significant and being able to contend with complexity that powerful ideas and superior solutions are found. We were introduced to The Ladder of Inference as a tool for dealing with our own mental constructs but also as a means of understanding how and why others think the way they do.
One of the sessions I attended yesterday was run by Nogah Kornberg. During it we learned how to find solutions to problems by working with two extremely opposite ideas to generate a better idea. The problem we worked with was designing a better school. We began with extremes:
1. The Traditional School
2. The Online School
… and building a collective understanding of what those terms mean.
During this session I learned how important it is to develop clarity. One person’s definition of “traditional” is not the same as another’s. Solutions cannot be found unless we understand each other’s definitions. I learned that the two most important prompts to achieve clarity are:
We then identified, must haves – elements from each that we were not willing to give up.
My next session was run by Christopher Federico, who taught us about Wicked Problems, how to think deeply by identifying the components of a problem and then how to use integrative thinking tools to begin finding solutions. We worked with the problem of gun violence in the USA. When we started, I honestly thought there were no solutions to this problem given that such extremely opposite points of view exist. We started with the ladder of inference to try to identify the data that forms each side’s point of view, and the benefits each sees in their point of view. Next in our groups we had to break down the problem by identifying links of causality