Do You Have “Inattention Blindness”?

First let’s start with a little test for you to take.

This only takes a minute.

Watch the video below:

This is an example of what is called “inattention blindness” or “change blindness”. The idea is that people often miss large changes in their visual field. This has been shown in many experiments.

So what does this mean if you are designing a website or something on a computer screen? It means that you can’t assume that just because something is on the screen means that people see it. This is especially true when you refresh a screen and make one change on it. People may not realize they are even looking at a different screen. Remember, just because something happens in the visual field doesn’t mean that people are consciously aware of it.

Your Brain Has More Connections Than Every Computer on Earth Combined

Just how complex is your noggin?

Your brain synapses are actually more like individual microprocessors than simple on/off switches, and your brain has hundreds of trillions of them.

Researchers Successfully Translate Brainwaves Into Words

According to Stephen Smith, a Stanford professor of molecular and cellular physiology, the brain is vastly more intricate than we had ever imagined:

One synapse, by itself, is more like a microprocessor–with both memory-storage and information-processing elements–than a mere on/off switch. In fact, one synapse may contain on the order of 1,000 molecular-scale switches. A single human brain has more switches than all the computers and routers and Internet connections on Earth.

Yup, you’ve got the world’s craziest network right on top of yer shoulders.

… Read original article …

On the Beach. Happy Holidays :-)

To all SOT members in 52 countries around the world may I wish you a Happy New Year and to our Australian members a relaxing and happy break over the January holidays.

In Australia, we are beach-lovers. This is our summer break so we mostly head off to our beaches and favourite holiday destinations with our family and friends. Traditionally, it’s a time for Aussies to relax together, to renew friendships and to have some fun.

We also have time to do a lot of reading and thinking. We meditate alone on our past year and our plans for the coming year. We have many shared discussions while sitting on the beach with friends or over a family barbecue. (Here’s a picture of St Kilda Beach where I was born and where I live today.)

Of course, I realise that SOT members in other countries do not live on the beach but in a diverse range of locations and different settings. So whatever situation you find yourself in January, I do hope you will have time to meditate and think and to renew your life as you embark on a new year.

Very best wishes to you and your family and friends, and I hope we will continue our journey into thinking … together in 2011.


Scientists find evidence for mental time travel


Researchers have found evidence for “chronesthesia,” which is the brain’s ability to be aware of the past and future, and to mentally travel in subjective time.

They found that activity in different brain regions is related to chronesthetic states when a person thinks about the same content during the past, present, or future.

Image credit: Lars Nyberg, et al. ©2010 PNAS.

The ability to remember the past and imagine the future can significantly affect a person’s decisions in life. Scientists refer to the brain’s ability to think about the past, present, and future as “chronesthesia,” or mental time travel, although little is known about which parts of the brain are responsible for these conscious experiences.

In a new study, researchers have used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate the neural correlates of mental time travel and better understand the nature of the mental time in which the metaphorical “travel” occurs.

… Click to original article …

The Brainy Learning Algorithms of Numenta


Jeff Hawkins has a track record at predicting the future. The founder of Palm and inventor of the PalmPilot, he spent the 1990s talking of a coming world in which we would all carry powerful computers in our pockets. “No one believed in it back then–people thought I was crazy,” he says. “Of course, I’m thrilled about how successful mobile computing is today.”


At his current firm, Numenta, Hawkins is working on another idea that seems to out of left field: copying the workings of our own brains to build software that makes accurate snap decisions for today’s data-deluged businesses.

He and his team have been working on their algorithms since 2005 and are finally preparing to release a version that is ready to be used in products.

Numenta’s technology is aimed at variety of applications, such as judging whether a credit card transaction is fraudulent, anticipating what a Web user will click next, or predicting the likelihood that a particular hospital patient will suffer a relapse.

— Click here for original article …

Raise your darwinian intelligence

“Nearly all of business education–even at postgraduate level–may be misguided, even misleading. In my experience, business education is faithfully based on a false premise–that the problem of business is growth. When, in fact, the problem of business is survival.

Most business leaders may be spending their time and energy on solving the wrong problem. Yes, of course, growth is critical in business but the MAIN PROBLEM is that most businesses fail to survive long enough to grow!”

Of the Fortune 500 class of 1974 only 22 of those businesses still survive. These are the big companies. The failure to survive of smaller companies is ten times worse.

Since Darwin explained the reasons 150 years ago, we know that it’s not the strongest or the largest that survive but it’s those best prepared to cope with change.

On this BIG PROBLEM of survival, most business executives are shockingly ignorant and deplete in their formal education. They lack sufficient darwinian intelligence.They know little or nothing useful about the science of strategic darwinian thinking.

They venture forth naked and ill-equipped in their approach to the chaos of the marketplace–the whirling, howling, cacophonous wilderness of the global marketplace with its ferocious fads, toxic wastes, and vicious moods, its callous explosions and cruel extinctions putting capricious end to the blind and righteous rivalry across pointless medieval double-entry boardrooms.

Extravagant expenditures of directors’ time and energy are squandered on the talmudic reading of balance-sheets and P&Ls, like the obsessive pre-scientific study of entrails, when less than one director in a hundred could give an intelligent, educated account of what strategy it would take for their business to survive in the fast-changing environment of the next decade.

Experiment: Ask any director you know to demonstrate their strategic understanding of Darwin’s Theory and to show how s/he uses that knowledge to safeguard the future of the company in the faster-changing environment of the marketplace. If you get a clear, articulate response it will be a surprise.

Is there any business school in Australia that insists their graduates understand the strategic business application of the darwinian imperative? Are there any of the endless ‘case studies’ churned out by business schools devoted to darwinian business strategy?

Do let me know if you find one.

Think Darwin! Raise your darwinian intelligence.

Meanwhile, as part of the ADVANCED LEADERSHIP TRAINING I’ve added a new module to help raise your darwinian intelligence, your ability to survive and grow in rapidly changing environments. It’s called: Think Darwin! It consists of an additional ten lessons designed so that anyone can understand, get their head around and then harness the amazing power of Darwin’s Theory in their daily life, career and business.

For example, what do you know about ‘memes‘?

If you’re in management, marketing, media, or HR/training memes are a must. You’ll become very up-to-date with them on this course. Darwin’s Theory is widely regarded as the most powerful theory in all of science!

— You can apply for the training by clicking here.  These lessons were first published in my book

The X10 Memeplex: Multiply Your Business By Ten!  (Prentice Hall 2000).

CORE SUBJECT: Teaching THINKING in Schools and Universities


THE CORE SUBJECT is a national initiative to focus attention on:
– the teaching of “thinking skills” and also
– the teaching of “teaching thinking skills” in Australian schools.
– THE CORE SUBJECT is available to any educational institution in Australia.

Any school, college, university, TAFE or educational institution may offer THINKING as a CORE SUBJECT to any and all members of their community–students, faculty and parents.

In 2007, this training was used by students, teachers and parents at Melbourne Grammar School and the opportunity to participate will now be opened to other educational institutions around Australia.

Applications from Principals, Headmasters, Vice Chancellors or Students and Parents who would like their institution to be considered for offering THINKING  as a CORE SUBJECT can be apply directly to The Principal, School of Thinking.

School Bookings:
Michael can be booked for presentations in Australian schools, colleges and universities by clicking here …



The primary mission of SOT, for 30 years, has always been:

To get THINKING taught in schools and universities

as a CORE curriculum SUBJECT.


November 17 2009 was the 30th anniversary of the School of Thinking. For 30 years this mission has meant dealing in the USA and Australia with many foundations, government and educational institutions, corporations publishers and media in Washington and Canberra and also with individual educators, parents and students in 45 countries around the world.


– Australia 2006

In 2006, Victoria became the first Australian state to put thinking as a core subject on the curriculum as part of the Victorian Education Learning Standards (VELS) curriculum from Level 1 to Level 6. Other states have followed. Many schools and universities around Australia, like Melbourne Grammar School and Victoria University are already teaching ‘thinking’ as a core subject.

– USA 1982

One day an invitation arrived from the University/Urban Schools National Task Force to speak at their last quarterly conference in San Francisco. This was a task force of school district superintendents from major American cities – Dallas, New York, San Francisco, Chicago etc. and was headed by Dr. Richard Bossone.

Dr. Bossone told me that their grant had run out and San Francisco was to be their last meeting as they had lost their raison d’etre and after the San Francisco conference, the task force would fold. He invited me to talk about the SOTs activities and teaching thinking. Our presentation was a big hit and as a result they passed a motion that their new raison d’etre would be to promote the teaching of thinking skills and they would apply to have their grant renewed.

Dr. Bossone was successful in getting the University/Urban Schools National Task Force grant renewed and he immediately convened a special conference In San Juan, Puerto Rico to focus only on teaching thinking in US schools. I was once again invited to open the conference and other representatives of various thinking programs were also invited. At this  conference the leaders of education in the US including Dr. Frank Macchiarola, Chancellor, New York City Public Schools, and Mr. Gene Maeroff, President, New York Times Foundation and Dean of Education Journalists. Mr. Maeroff’s presence was strategically important because his was the top voice on education trends in America. Like the New York Times theatre critic who can make or close a Broadway show in one article, what Gene Maeroff writes in the Education Supplement of the New York Times, inevitably comes to pass. Gene was very impressed with the San Juan discussions and also the financial commitments given to the task force so in a special two-full page pull-out feature he subsequently wrote:

“Teaching to think: A new emphasis at schools and colleges
A major new effort to teach thinking skills is planned by the University/Urban Schools National Task Force, which will soon initiate a program in the public schools of New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Detroit, Minneapolis and Memphis. The College Board will provide $300,000 for the project… The School of Thinking in New York is the base in this country for teaching de Bono’s theory, disseminated from its headquarters in London, which includes breaking out of traditional thinking patterns. This means trying to devise new ways of looking at problems… it affirms the belief that without specific efforts there is no assurance students will learn to think clearly.”

(New York Times: Education Winter Survey. January 9, 1983.)

This was the story that was taken up by the press around the nation and a new fad was created – teaching thinking as a skill. The media have been generous in supporting SOT and its activities, and as a group, journalists deserve a lot of the credit for SOTs success in achieving its mission.

Within a year from that New York Times story, we had accomplished our mission of getting thinking into US schools. This is an educational trend that is very unlikely to stop or unhappen in the future.

HISTORY OF SOT and Order of Precedence


The training strategy of the School of Thinking is an original Australian design.

It has been developed and evolved by Dr. Michael Hewitt-Gleeson over the past 35 years. It is based on the–“The Scheyville Method”–the unique training method used by the Australian Army to prepare leaders for Vietnam service in the 60s and 70s.

School of Thinking (SOT) lessons have already reached over 80 million people around the world and received wide media support since 1979.

PROFESSOR GEORGE GALLUP, The Gallup Poll, Princeton proclaimed in 1983:

“I believe the School of Thinking’s work in teaching people to think may be the most important thing going on in the world today.”

- In 1979, SOT originated the strategy of not just teaching thinking skills but training teachers of thinking which has since become the world’s largest movement for the teaching of thinking in schools.

– In 1983, SOT originated the method of using thinking hats for the teaching of thinking skills of which Edward de Bono wrote in Six Thinking Hats: “may well be the most important change in human thinking in the past 2300 years.”

– SOT also originated the concept of software for the brain for the teaching of thinking skills worldwide and for raising innovation intelligence. This is the basic brain software taught by SOT – cvs2bvs – and was once described by Jack Welch of GE as “the simplest idea in the world”.

For trainers, educators and those who are interested in these matters, here is some detailed background on the design and development and on the history and effectiveness of the School of Thinking over the past 40 years that has led to it becoming the largest school of its kind in the world.

Australia: The Career Acceleration Program

In Melbourne, Australia in 1970, Michael Hewitt-Gleeson designed the generic Career Acceleration Program (CAP). This was a train-the-trainer technology, for converting knowledge into skill. CAP was based on three simple hypotheses: Alternatives, Leaping, Repetition. In training CAP instructors, six principles were emphasised. To become successful trainers they had to master these Six CAP Principles.

Military Training Strategies

With no love or tolerance of war itself, SOT makes practical use of effective military training strategies for virtuosity in the development of cognitive skills. Two primary ‘Scheyville’ Australian military training strategies:
digital training and daily training.

From 1967 through 1974 in Australia and South Viet Nam, Dr. Hewitt-Gleeson studied The Scheyville Method of leadership under the direction of Brigadier Ian Geddes, as part of his Australian military training and service, world-class army officer training in leadership, survival, confidence training, instructional techniques and military arts. He conducted further experiments while serving as an officer/chief instructor in the Royal Australian Air Force Reserve. As a result of this experience he designed CAP which was well received by trainees, trainers and educators for producing measureable results. Since then, continuous, focused development of the training technology in the marketing, business, and public training applications has brought its evolution to its current stage of development.

USA: The School of Thinking

In New York on 17 November 1979, Dr. Hewitt-Gleeson and Edward de Bono founded the School of Thinking (SOT) in the USA. From the first meeting in New York, SOT went on to become the biggest nationwide program in the world ever to teach thinking skills to education, business and public sectors.

Under Dr Hewitt-Gleeson’s direction, the School of Thinking trained many thousands of people around the US and also installed thinking skills into school districts, corporations and government organisations. Within five years ‘teaching thinking’ in US schools had become, according to The New York Times, the biggest new trend in education.

PAUL MACCREADY JR, Inventor of the Gossamer Albatross and father of man-powered flight (1982):

“When first watching an SOT thinking class in action I was amazed that something so simple and so much fun could be so quick and effective in developing a person’s ‘thinking muscle’. We all, as individuals and caretakers of our precious earth, need these thinking skills.”

Australia: The School of Thinking

On 30 May 1988, in Canberra, at a meeting of 700 of Australia’s municipal and federal statespersons, Dr. Michael Hewitt-Gleeson launched the School of Thinking in Australia. He presented the Governor-General His Excellency Sir Ninian Stephen AK, GCMB, GCVO, KBE with a Brainusers Kit. Dr. Hewitt-Gleeson then awarded to the Honourable Robert J L Hawke AK, the Prime Minister of Australia, a special certificate appointing him “Australia’s Number One Brainuser” to symbolise the vast potential of turning-on the power of Australia’s 16 million brains.

The Clever Country

Subsequently, on 8 March 1990, in Brisbane, Australia’s Number One Brainuser, Prime Minister Hawke, decreed: “No longer content to be just the lucky country, Australia must now become the clever country”.

This is now the big chance for Australia’s future – the development of our ultimate natural resource – our human resources. The School of Thinking in Australia has been working to see that this does happen by pushing for thinking skills to be taught to all Australian kids on the core education curriculum.


The Order of Precedence of SOT

– The Patron – Professor George Gallup

– The Founder and Principal – Dr Michael Hewitt-Gleeson

– Co-founder – Professor Edward de Bono

– The Vice-Principal – Dr Eric Bienstock

– The Publisher – Alexandra Jane Noble JD

– The Australian Thinkers of the Year:

2005 Professor Michael Georgeff

2006 Professor German Spangenberg

2007 Professor Jenny Graves

2008 Coach Kevin Sheedy

2009 Major-General Jim Molan

– The Doctors Honoris Causa:

Dr Andrew Vincent DBT 1998

Dr Brian Monahan DBT 2005

Dr John Chambers DBT 2006

Dr Maria Deveson-Crabbe DBT 2008

– The Board of Directors:

Dr Brian Monahan DBT – Chairman

Mr Newell Lock FCA ACIS

Dr Eric Bienstock PhD

Mr David Sharry BA

– The Dean of the Graduate SOT – Anthony Bertini BA Econ

– The Scholars:

Dr Steven Angelides PhD

– The Chief Instructors SOT:

Dr Eric Bienstock 1980

Mr Leon Mysh 1983

Mr John Tindley BA DipEd 1989

Mr Simon Chen DipDM 2005

– The Dean of the SISOT Society – Dr Eric Bienstock

– The Members of the SISOT Society

– The Roll of Thinking Instructors

– The Students

– The Members

– The Client Associates

– The Readers

– The Media

– The Countries.


Science Breakthrough of the Year 2010

Science Magazine:

Until now, all machines have moved according to the not-surprising laws of classical mechanics, which govern the motion of everyday objects. In contrast, a tiny machine unveiled this year jiggles in ways explicable only by the weird rules of quantum mechanics, which ordinarily govern molecules, atoms, and subatomic particles.

The proto-quantum machine opens the way to myriad experimental devices and perhaps tests of our sense of reality. That potential and the ingenuity of the experiment make it the Breakthrough of the Year.

“Information wants to be free!”

Very often people ask why the SOT is free. Why are there no fees?

Some people are even sceptical that it is free and wait for the “money-scheme” to ambush them at some point in the lessons.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with charging fees for services. SOT is actually funded by the fees we do charge to corporations for consulting. But, on the web, SOT is free and has been since it first started.

In 1995, the School of Thinking became the first virtual school on the internet as one of the world’s first 10,000 websites. Today the internet has more than 600 million websites.

In those first days the ethos of the internet was “Information wants to be free!” and SOT became the world’s first school for teaching thinking to anyone, anywhere and at anytime. As Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the WWW puts it, “The spirit of the internet was not one of patents and royalties but of academic openness”.

STEWART BRAND spreads the “information wants to be free” meme at the first Hackers’ Conference in 1984 …

“On the one hand information wants to be expensive, because it’s so valuable. The right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information wants to be free, because the cost of getting it out is getting lower and lower all the time. So you have these two fighting against each other.”