Harbinger Consultants

Culture + Complexity + Change

THINK | School of Thinking Online Courses

Over the past year, I’ve been doing a series of courses with the School of Thinking (SOT), the largest program in the world for teaching “thinking skills” and teaching “teaching thinking skills”. It is an independent school of thinking, innovation and cognitive science and all SOT training is pro bono and available on an opt-in/opt-out basis for those who are interested. The SOT has been around 30 years, initiated by Edward de Bono and Michael Hewitt-Gleeson and now involving Eric Bienstock.

My interest in this started in March when I attended two masterclasses with Hewitt-Gleeson, SOT’s principal, at the Brisbane Ideas Festival. The masterclasses were about creative thinking and ‘software for the brain’. Having completed those two masterclasses – which variously presented ideas about cognetics – I decided to explore SOT further and have continued with the online training. So far I have completed two programs which have resulted in my becoming a ‘Thinking Instructor’ of SOT (TISOT): BCT: Beyond Critical Thinking and L-MHG: Advanced Leadership Training. For SOT and its founders, thinking is a skill that can be developed through practice rather than predicated on intelligence – they argue that the conflation of intelligence and thinking means that we do not practice thinking.With so much discussion around about neuroplasticity there’s an increasing awareness of what it means to train the brain to affect change in cognition.

Thinking is the result of escape (from current view) combined with search (for alternatives) i.e. escape + search = thinking. My motivations for undertaking the training were that, after a long period of illness, my thinking processes had become interrupted and insular and felt ‘addled’, while also suffering from memory issues. So I was endeavouring to escape from that illness mindset by searching out alternatives. The SOT program presented a means for regenerating and refining my searching and thinking skills so that I could bring some fresh approaches and ideas to my work and, indeed, my life.

I’ve found this process to be highly valuable because it encourages me to … well … think! However, not just think, but think about thinking with a view to curbing the critical overkill (right/wrong) that has shaped our education system and thinking systems, which Hewitt-Gleeson calls the ‘Plato Truth Virus’. Various schools of thought have rejected the idea of ‘absolute truth’, yet it continues to underwrite much of contemporary education and professional practice.  I am currently working through the online program to become a SISOT (a Senior Instructor of SOT) and a member of the SISOT Society. This will ultimately mean that I will be able to offer consulting services and coordinate gatherings in my local area.

I’d encourage anyone interested in cognetics – thinking about thinking – or even just wanting to dabble in other practices of thinking to have a look at the SOT website. Free downloadable resources include Hewitt-Gleeson’s book on software for the brain, cvs2bvs, which enables that escape and search process. That is,  escaping from your current view of a situation to a ten times better view of that situation.

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