Harbinger Consultants

Culture + Complexity + Change

LEARN | Think, do …

Over the weekend of 28 – 29 March, John and I attended the Ideas Festival in Brisbane. I was particularly interested in the Thinking Masterclasses with Michael Hewitt-Gleeson, while John was keen to explore his own interests such as Indigenous knowledge, social innovation and social enterprise. We both engaged in presentations about futures, sustainability, design and cities. I have reported on some of the Ideas Festival sessions and presentations at the PlaceBlog. Podcasts and other media from the festival can be found online.

I worked as a program officer on the first two Ideas Festivals (then Ideas at the Powerhouse) in 2001 and 2003 and also edited The Ideas Book (UQP, 2005) which anthologised papers and transcripts from those two initial events. My claim to having made a useful contribution to the event is that, in 2001, I urged the then Festival Director to approach Sohail Inayatullah as a prospective presenter, having been told about his work by John (who had undertaken workshops with Inayatullah) and then following up with readings particularly about futures methodology. Four festivals later, Dr Inayatullah continues to present at the Ideas Festival influencing our thinking and encouraging longer term perspectives.

Hewitt-Gleeson’s masterclasses stressed the need to think beyond critiquing and to engage fuzzy truths. He made the point that thinking is a skill and, as such, can be learned. Hewitt-Gleeson addressed the need to include thinking on the school curriculum. He said that thinking, a skill in itself, tends to be taught as a by-product of other subjects. In Australia, only Victoria has included thinking in its curriculum. Having spoken to John about this, he is considering how to introduce thinking skills into the Indigenous business program at the Australia Catholic University where he lectures.

Since completing the two thinking masterclasses with Hewitt-Gleeson – one on creative thinking and the other on thinking differently – I have since enrolled in the 10 lesson online course at the School of Thinking. I’ve also downloaded resources, subscribed to the newsletter and am endeavouring to bring these learnings into my everyday deliberations. I’ve also made inquiries about enrolling in the instructor program. Everything on the School of Thinking website is free.


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