THINKING TOOLS

By Dr KAMAL JIT SINGH

An innovator can unveil the uncertainty and mysticism surrounding an idea if the facts, assumptions, perceptions and opinions are properly evaluated. The sole aim of the innovator is to generate profit from a novel or creative idea. To do this, he first examines and studies the landscape that he is in.

He examines his surroundings, in the context of his own strengths and weaknesses. He questions everything he observes and does not take anything for granted. He evaluates every assumption and ascertains the credibility and reliability of claims and evidence before him. That is the basis of critical thinking.

An innovator is a critical thinker when he has learned the art of separating facts from opinions. He examines the basis of assumptions and delves into perceptions that surround the proposition. Collectively, opinions, assumptions and perceptions are regarded as “noise” and are usually discarded by men of science. The innovator however, extends the boundaries of traditional critical thinking and extracts underlying messages from the noise.

Unfortunately, this is the most difficult part. In isolation, each individual piece tells a certain story. When assembled however, the combined parts of the jigsaw puzzle may reveal an entirely different representation. To make matters even more difficult, the final picture may be like a hologram — showing different images to different people, depending on their POV (points of view).

Which one is the true portrait of the opportunity and which one is the illusion? The ability to distinguish one from the other is what differentiates an entrepreneur from an innovator. An ordinary entrepreneur sees a business opportunity whereas an innovator charts the journey to a profitable decision (and counts the cost).

We must remember that not everything is visible to the naked human eye. Sometimes we need tools to make invisible things become visible. Just like a micro-biologist relies on a microscope to bring minute organisms into full view under the lens and a banker uses an ultra-violet light lamp to view the watermarks of currency notes, the innovator needs tools that will bring invisible messages from facts, opinions, assumptions and perceptions into his viewfinder.

The innovator is not a philosopher – his purpose for critical thinking is to correctly identify an opportunity or to solve a problem. If done in a structured manner, the skill can be learned by just about anyone and the uncertainty and mysticism surrounding innovation can be eliminated.

Since critical thinking is the initial step, it has to be both accurate and precise. A by-product of critical thinking is the identification of various problems, weak links and potential pitfalls that are causing the opportunity to remain untapped.

For the full article and credits:

http://thestar.com.my/education/story.aspfile=/2011/9/4/education/9124173&sec=education

Datuk Dr Kamal Jit Singh is the CEO of Agensi Inovasi Malaysia (AIM). It is the vanguard for innovation inMalaysia. Established by the Government through an Act of Parliament, AIM will be the driving force behindMalaysia’s push towards establishing an innovation economy.

ZDT Author’s comments:

Notice that this author is inMalaysia, and that their goal is to inject their economic future and agenda with purposeful innovation. That is a worthy goal.

Question: Why is it that the dominate voice we hear regarding our economic condition is dire and oppressive as opposed to creative decisioning, innovation and entrepreneurship as the driving factors in our recovery? Yes we have debt, but our true assets (zillions in American ingenuity) far outweigh the trillions that could be reversed in short order.

 As always…you decide.

Discovery    Commitment    Solution    Action