Emphasising the importance of continuous questioning Dr Karl Thomas, Creatovation, started his presentation with the quote “Nothing has ever been done so well that it can’t be improved’.   Entitled ‘Critical Thinking in a Continuous Environment’ the latest ICBE Advanced Productivity Webinar gave a snapshot of some of the important considerations and impact of embracing new philosophies of thinking.  

In discussing the future of work Karl explained how the future skills of communication, creativity and collaboration hinged on critical thinking in addition to interacting with/depending on each other. 

More specifically the skills of critical thinking includes:

  1. Analysis
  2. Applying Standards
  3. Discriminating
  4. Information seeking
  5. Logical reasoning
  6. Predicting
  7. Transforming knowledge

Although each stands alone they also follow a natural progression and build on each other.

Quoting John Dewy “The essence of critical thinking is suspended judgement and the essence of this suspense is inquiry to determine the nature of the problem before proceeding attempts at its solution” Karl pointed out that frequently we rush to solutions without proper problem statements or even a clear notion of what we are trying to solve.

Digging deeper into the psychology Karl asked attendee to try an exercise where they explain the logic of recent purchases, which uncovers secret bias amongst other things.  

The design thinking phases of emphathise, define, ideate, prototype and test help in the creation of human centric solutions.  Karl pointed out the importance of clearly segregating Problem Space and Solution Space.  He also advocated that ‘Context is King’ for problem solving and critical thinking with a clear focus on empathy followed by problem defining stating “A problem well defined is a problem half solved”.

In looking at blockers to critical thinking and good problem solving Karl explained the role of different cognitive biases and heuristics from belief perseverance, affect bias, negative bias and loss aversion, sunk cost fallacy finishing with the cognitive bias codex or a series of blockers that our brains put in our way as it seeks to protect itself.

In order to overcome some of these Karl suggested the Gibbs Reflective Cycle of 

  • Description
  • Feelings
  • Evaluation
  • Analysis
  • Conclusion
  • Action Plan

The final model that Karl shared was a description of the R.E.D. Model for Critical Thinking covering:

  • Recognise Assumptions
  • Evaluate Arguments
  • Draw Conclusions

Critical thinking, creativity, innovation all perform better if supported by curiosity with the webinar ending with a quote from Albert Einstein “The important thing is not to stop questioning.  Curiosity has its own reason for existing”

The slides for Karl presentation are below:

Karl Thomas Webinar Critical Thinking