Think Better | Tim Hurson

Summary of: Think Better: An Innovator’s Guide to Productive Thinking
By: Tim Hurson

Introduction

Embark on the intellectual adventure of ‘Think Better: An Innovator’s Guide to Productive Thinking’ by Tim Hurson, that breaks the myth of inherent thinking abilities and shifts focus to enhancing one’s cognitive capabilities. The summary spotlights the emerging knowledge-driven economy and highlights the differences between reproductive and productive thinking. You will discover thought patterns that prevent true productivity and learn the importance of creative and critical thinking in improving problem-solving prowess. Additionally, the summary offers various techniques and processes to foster productive thinking, ensuring both individuals and organizations can adapt effectively in the fast-changing world.

Maximizing Your Thinking Potential

Thinking ability is not innate, anyone can learn to think better. The economy is now information-based, making a company’s ability to manipulate ideas crucial. Productive thinking generates new ideas for insight, while reproductive thinking refines existing knowledge. Recognizing and overcoming common avoidance techniques such as “monkey mind,” “gator brain,” and “elephant’s tether” is essential. Understanding and breaking patterns when necessary is key to maximizing your thinking potential.

Reproductive Thinking and Productive Thinking

Reproductive thinking is grounded in following old patterns and doing things the same way, while productive thinking is about creating new processes and generating ideas through creative and critical thinking. Reproductive thinking has three levels: unconscious, intentional, and kaizen, which involves continuing to improve processes mindfully. However, reproductive thinking doesn’t help solve new problems. On the other hand, productive thinking transforms our worldview and creates new processes using creative and critical thinking. When thinking creatively, ideas should be generated without judgment, and criticism should be suspended until enough ideas are generated. This approach ensures that new ideas are not immediately dismissed. While reproductive thinking can be useful, productive thinking is necessary for innovation and problem-solving.

Mastering Productive Thinking

Productive thinking involves three stages: analyzing, judging, and selecting ideas. However, we tend to stick to reproductive thinking, which limits us to familiar solutions. To be truly productive, we must keep asking questions and generating lots of ideas, even the strange or unacceptable ones. Brainstorming has three steps: generating safe ideas, getting an inkling of new ones, and finally, crazy ideas. By churning out ideas as fast as we can, we can access the productive final third of the process. To generate rich, useful, and original solutions, we should follow a six-step process. Rushing to answers won’t give us productive thinking, so we should keep questioning even when the answers seem clear. Trying to both think creatively and critically simultaneously will sabotage our success.

Problem-Solving Techniques

The book suggests a step-by-step approach to investigating a problem. It advises identifying the cause of the irritation, assessing its impact, and identifying those affected. It also recommends creating a “KnoWonder” diagram and using “I3” to envision your ideal future. The author advocates for avoiding tunnel vision by entertaining multiple interpretations before narrowing down on a solution. Finally, the passage emphasizes the value of imagination, influence, and importance in achieving one’s goals. The book provides practical problem-solving techniques that can be applied across different contexts.

Persuading People to Act

To persuade people to act, create a compelling future vision and use exercises like “DRIVE” or “AIM” to shape and write down the necessary steps.

Generating new ideas can be easy, but persuading people to act on them is often a different challenge. Both individuals and organizations may find themselves stuck in the past and unable to move forward. To overcome this obstacle, an even more powerful “future pull” needs to be created. The first step is to visualize the future in detail, including workday, feelings, and interactions with colleagues. Writing a press release or annual report describing the success of this vision without worrying about being logical is also recommended.

To further shape the vision, the “DRIVE” exercise can be used by writing the letters D-R-I-V-E across the top of a page and listing what the solution must do, any restrictions, investments, values, and essential outcomes. Alternatively, the “AIM” exercise can be used by listing the advantages, impediments, and maybes. By using these exercises to write down the necessary steps to achieve the future vision, individuals and organizations will be better equipped to persuade themselves and others to take action towards reaching their goals.

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