Continuous Improvement Teaches Thinking

Continuous Improvement is an ongoing effort to improve.  The improvement might be to a product or service, or in one's own abilities.  Improvement can be incremental or come rapidly in a "breakthrough." Not only is continuous improvement an important skill to have at work, but it...

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Can You Teach Someone to Be Happy? Yale does…

Recently the New York Times ran an article titled Yale's Most Popular Class Ever Teaches Students How to be Happy. More than 25% of undergrads have signed up for the class this semester. From the article: The course focuses both on positive psychology - the characteristics that allow humans...

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Want to test your cognitive abilities?

TestMyBrain is a not-for-profit initiative dedicated to collaborating with citizen scientists throughout the world by providing measurement tools that allow people to engage in science and learn about themselves.  Currently the organization has tested over 1.5 million individuals in over 240 countries / territories.  Recent findings have identified that our cognitive abilities change as we age - and can tell you when you'll be the smartest. If you'd like to participate, you'll not only be advancing research but you'll receive personalized feedback too (you'll see how you compare to the "average" person)!
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Teaching Thinking through Changing Perspective

etsy-diy-kaleidoscope-how-tuesday-clare-mcgibbon-finalOne of the ways you can help people to improve their thinking skills is to ask them  to change their perspective on a topic. To think about it from another point of  view.  This is very easy to do in a training situation - since we have folks captive  and can ask them to try an activity in a way they are not naturally inclined to. Unfortunately, we often miss this opportunity in training and instead ask our participants  to answer a question based on their own perspective or opinion. For example, how often does your training program ask something along the lines  of: Now that you have read the case study, what are the three main factors affecting  the situation? Since people respond with their own opinion, we never tell them that they are wrong, of course (nor are they wrong), but do we ever conduct "round 2" of the questioning / debrief and ask the learners, What if you were the banker, contractor, pilot in the situation? THEN what would you say are the three most important factors? Here are two techniques for getting people to change their perspective on a topic:
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Teaching Thinking through Analogous Associations

not fitting Analogous: Comparable in certain respects.

The story goes that James Dyson - the founder of Dyson vacuums - hit upon his innovative vacuum design by observing how a grain processor got rid of the "dust" (answer: through a funnel / vortex).

One of the deficiencies in our society is that even when we bring the smartest people together to solve a problem - they are often the smartest people on the same topic. Thinking capability can be greatly expanded by looking to analogous fields. Possibilities abound when we contemplate "similar but different" perspectives.
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