Thinking is as simply asking and answering questions. If you want to improve your thinking, ask better questions.
Here are 3 thinking techniques:
How Might That Be True
When you hear something new, or information that conflicts with what you think you already know, ask yourself, "how might that be true?" This simple question will open your curiosity. If you’re quick to prove people wrong, people won’t share information with you. Rather than fight somebody on a point, right from the start, you can help them explore the point. You don’t have to agree. Instead, you’re exploring possibility.
PMI is simply Plus Points, Minus Points, and Interesting Points. This helps you expand your thinking. Notice how the plus points are first. This helps find the good first, before shutting it down with minus points. By looking for interesting points, you find yet another class of insights. This is where you might find some unexpected "ah-has."
Six Thinking Hats
by Six Thinking Hats technique, you explore multiple perspectives for more complete thinking. The Six Hats are:
- White Hat – the facts and figures
- Red Hat – the emotional view
- Black Hat – the “devil’s advocate”
- Yellow Hat – the positive side
- Green Hat – the creative side
- Blue Hat – the organizing view
The most effective way I’ve found to turn these into action is to turn the hats into simple questions:
- What are the facts and figures? (White Hat)
- What’s your gut reaction? How do you feel about this? (Red Hat)
- Why can’t we do this? What prevents us? What’s the downside? (Black Hat)
- Why should we go with this option? (Yellow Hat)
- What are additional opportunities? (Green Hat)
- How should we think about this? (what are the metaphors or mental models) (Blue Hat)
If you’re in a room full of people, rather than fight on topics, you can team up. Go to the whiteboard, write the list of questions above, and cycle through them as a group. Instead of tug-of-war, you’re now teaming up on “what are the facts and figures?” … … “why can’t we do this?” … “how can we do this?” … etc. This technique helps “black hat critics” step out of character and your reduce the overall energy drain of fighting point by point. Instead, you improve your overall thinking as a group.
[via Source of Insight]