Challenge the borders of your thinking

I know that a network map of the brain is a thing. I wonder if there is a way you could map your conceptual understanding beyond a simple mind map.

Stick with me as I explore this idea of a “map of our thinking” out loud, it has been something I have long pondered and used in discussions with others. I would primarily refer to it when talking about how provocation changes our thinking.

  • Say we could create a spatial representation of what we know about a topic.
  • It might take up a certain area and have borders.
  • It might be something we can draw.
  • Perhaps there are neighbouring relevant topics.
  • Let’s say the size is relative to our understanding, the bigger the area the more we understand about that topic.
  • We might also be able to quantify the amount of knowledge there is for any given topic, leading to a point of reference of what potential understanding there still is to discover.
  • This map is not necessarily about the connections like a mind map, but more about the aggregate “space” the discovered or known concepts take up.
  • There would be an edge. A thinking border.
  • There would be unknown territory still to be discovered.

So what happens when the borders change.

I have always wondered about the power of using provocation to challenge our thinking. To challenge the borders of what we know. I imagine a provocation being something like a newly discovered perspective on an issue or a series of facts previously not seen. All manner of things can serve as a provocation. They would break that thinking border and create a new space on the map, forcing us to draw a new edge of our thinking. That newly identified space and albeit uncharted thinking would then need some exploring, some thinking and processing. But it would soon be subsumed within the wider map of what we know about that topic.

De Bono refers to how provocations can create movement in our thinking if they are used to challenge a set of ideas. Perhaps the borders of our conceptual understanding become equally fluid when we are faced with different provocations. Perhaps those borders shift and expand, contract and become redrawn as we continue to learn.

1 Comment

  1. I am currently researching how design thinking could promote students problem solving in the 21st century. Design thinking allows the students to go through a process where they are able to be creative, and to be aware that they are in a creative or innovative age, where things that they are so used to consuming, are being redesigned.
    Benavidez (2011) stated that design thinking is a collaborative process. It encourages students to design their learning experience. It’s an optimistic, proactive approach. Design thinking is another away to see and embrace the world. It’s a mindset, which you have clearly explained, can be re-bordered and therefore measured.
    Your idea that provocation, linking to a newly discovered perspective, underpins the idea of Design Thinking.
    The concept of understanding our mind space and then extending those borders is something that I will share with my students, so they can have a visual representation of where they came from and where they are now. Ideate, research, and redefine, therefore extend the space of understanding that we have about a topic.
    Your research of de Bono helps to clarify for me that Design Thinking can be used in our learning outside of a classroom. My next step is to gather data of my students showing this, and developing skills as life long learners.

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