Should doctors think?

Should Doctors Think? was the title of a lecture I presented a few years ago at Monash Medical Centre to the medical staff. The title was deliberately provocative and the auditorium was filled. Doctors and medical staff work hard, they make critical decisions under relentless pressure and they use the same brain that we use. It is just as difficult for a doctor to think outside the box as it is for a soldier, for a salesman or for a CEO.

In this clip Dr Jerome Groopman explores this question, too:

Hewitt-Gleeson on Making Mistakes


Speed of thought is how long it takes you to change your mind.

Speed of thought is how long it takes you to escape from your current viewpoint.

Speed of thought is how long it takes you to switch to a much better viewpoint.

The biggest roadbump to speed of thought is your fear of being wrong.

The most common cause of cognitive inertia is mistake-phobia, the morbid fear of making a mistake.

CTO, Jenks Guo, recognised …

School of Thinking’s Chief Technology Officer, Dr Jenks Guo, has been recognised by the School of Thinking with an Honorary Doctorate. Because SOT is 100% online the role of CTO is crititcal for the teaching success of the school.

Dr Jenks Guo with his wife, Venus, both expecting their first child in a few weeks.

Jenks was honoured at a special ceremony and dinner at SOT on Friday 4th August with a citation which said “in recognition of his many strategic contributions to the School in design and technology and his continued project management and daily operational support for over eight years“.


There is no time but NOW!

Newsell Physics: TIME

The success of newsell comes from how it exploits the fundamental physics available to all business people — TIME and ENERGY.

Between the past and the future lies the only moment of time you can control … the present. The present is that unique moment in time when the future collapses back into the past.

In order to spend time you need to be able to control time, and the only moment for spending time is . . . Now! Now

Modern physics tells us that there is always an unlimited number of possible futures coming towards and at each particular moment. We ‘choose’ one of those futures … Now!… and that selected future then becomes the unalterable past.

Now! is the moment in time when the future becomes the past.

Measuring things is one way of controlling them. Units of measurement enable us to better manipulate things to our useful advantage. For example, kilometres enable us to control distances, kilometres per hour enable us to control speed, days help us to control time. With units of measurement, the smaller the unit the greater degree of control.

So, we come to the concept of what I call ‘Cybertime 24/7’: the shift from measuring time in days to measuring it in hours.

In a week there are seven days and we know them by their individual names (the names are another form of measurement). These days are familiar and useful chunks of time. Their only disadvantage in spending them is their size. A day is so large and bulky, it can be quite cumbersome to spend. We lose patience, or interest. We get tired, distracted or bored.

If only we had an easier method of controlling or spending time . . .

Cybertime 24/7

Cybertime 24/7 makes this possible by giving each hour its own name just as each day has its own name. Suddenly a certain hour is important because it is unique. It has its own name and cannot be confused with any other hour. Just as Monday is a unique day and never gets confused with Friday, in Cybertime 24/7 a certain hour never need be confused with another hour. Each hour can be planned and spent in its own way. So what shall we call these unique hours of time? What names shall we give them?

Since there are only 168 hours each and every week, why don’t we (just for convenience) give each hour its own unique number. That way we can identify each hour as a special unit of time and be free to spend it as we please.

In the Cybertime map, Monday goes from Cybertime 1 to 24. Tuesday is Cybertime 25 to 48. Wednesday is Cybertime 49 to 72 and so on. cybertime matrixSpending Cybertime

Each of us gets a fresh deposit of 168 hours in our personal Cybertime account each week. We can either spend it ourselves or others will spend it for us. Because Cybertime is measured in hours, it is more flexible, more manageable and easier to spend. You can budget Cybertime just like you budget your cash flow. You can plan Cybertime for work, for health, for family, for friends, for yourself, for training, for entertainment, for maintenance, for fun, or for nothing! The main point is to spend it yourself.

Cybertime 24/7 is that point in time and space where one of the possible futures collapses into the actual past . . try to be there when it happens! shutterstock_213550498

From WOMBAT SELLING: how to sell by word of mouth (2006) ISBN 1740664280


Stupid bloggery …

Blogs cannot unhappen.

The blogosphere  will never go away. They will just proliferate. Some, a small minority, will be wise and helpful. Most blogs being read at any particular time will be stupid and misleading. Stupid bloggery!

The Stupidity Problem

The real problem with stupidity is that it’s a wicked problem and probably impossible to solve with most human brains on a diet of stupid bloggery.

It may be that, in the next few decades, AI ‘brains’ will have a better chance of solving the Stupidity Problem …

Short interview with Michael

This was a recent interview with Michael by a School of Thinking member on the teaching of lateral thinking skills

Do SOT lateral thinking tools actually work for Chinese students?

In theory the tools are designed for the human brain so they should work for all human brains. However, in practise, translations and cultural expectations and motivations can also play a big part.

It has been argued that Asian students are less creative than Western Thinkers, would you agree to this claim? 

I have not seen any evidence to support such a claim per se. I cannot see how this would be possible from a cognitive neuroscience viewpoint. Again, there may be local cultural conditions that influence educational outcomes, as is widely experienced across the pedagogical spectrum, due to socio-economic and other factors.

Should lateral thinking be a stand alone subject taught in higher ed or even as early as high-school?

In many schools thinking skills are taught, sometimes under the heading of Critical Thinking. The range of skills varies so it is unclear to what extent Lateral Thinking skills are taught. 

A lot more emphasis should be placed on lateral thinking rather than learning. Lateral thinking is about outcomes, performance and value-creation. In SOT we focus less on Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) and more on Student Performance Objectives (SPOs). 

We ask the question: what can students do? not what did students learn?

SPOs are an education strategy SOT imported from the Australian military leadership training doctrine known as The Scheyville Experience.

What implications does lateral thinking have on the quality of teaching and learning? 

In many ways lateral thinking is an alternative to teaching and learning, although I think both are necessary. Teacher-driven learning is not preferable to student-driven learning although it is traditionally treated as such. I would like to see the balance restored. 

From a strategic thinking perspective, one could argue that students need only be taught Lateral Thinking, Latin and Physics from primary school onwards and with these cognitive skills they can search for whatever other information they need. Music, dance, art and sport could get more time, too. 

Non-compulsory National Service could also raise Australia's national value-creation skills level.

Why does lateral thinking matter?

Because of the shadow of the future. Currently, the world’s *GDP is US$60 trillion. (*the total of all the countries of the world’s products and services for the year). In 30 years, by around 2050, this will grow to an estimated US$200 trillion. This will be the most exciting time for innovation and growth in all of human history. 

The next 30 years will yield US$140 trillion in new customers—globally! 

So, the shadow of the future means this … which countries will be the ones to win the lion’s share of this growth? Which enterprises will be the first to get these brand new customers? Which products and services will be in most demand by this coming tsunami of customers? 

Those products and services which will be in big demand by this next boom of customers will be those clever ideas created by the most engaged employees, the most innovative employees, and the most entrepreneurial.