Skip to content

{ Category Archives } Thinking

Interested in being part of a unique problem solving team?

For the past several years we’ve been working to create the world’s largest high-performance team for problem-solving. This two-minute video captures the essence of what we are trying to accomplish: We’ve been actively recruiting for the next stage in our development, which will be a beta test that will run over the next six months. […]

Tagged , ,

How to read and understand a scientific paper: a guide for non-scientists « Violent metaphors

I only wish I had been this organized and diligent when I was doing the research for my dissertation. Or that I had had this kind of excellent advice available when I did.  How to read and understand a scientific paper: a guide for non-scientists « Violent metaphors: “What constitutes enough proof? Obviously everyone has […]

Tagged

Never let “being realistic” get in the way of real problem solving

The good folks at xkcd always have something useful to say. Too many problem solving efforts are sabotaged when someone decides to redirect the conversation towards “being realistic.”  xkcd: Realistic Criteria I’m planning on posting this little gem somewhere close by to remind me to view these requests more skeptically.  When is a request to […]

Tagged

Poking effectively on complex systems

Here is a brief clip from an interview Steve Jobs did in 1995 while he was at Next. It neatly captures an important attitude about dealing with complex systems: Whenever you poke at a system, the system pokes back. If you grew up with siblings, you learned this at a visceral level.  Too many of […]

Tagged

Adam Savage on the path from simple ideas to discovery

Here’s a relatively short talk by Adam Savage of Mythbusters at TED-Ed on how curiosity and simple ideas lead to discovery. Savage is an excellent storyteller and these are stories worth hearing. I’m particularly taken with his observation that it can sometimes take years before you understand why your brain holds on to a particular idea. […]

Tagged

Rethinking data and decisions – Big Data’s Impact in the World – NYTimes.com

The New York Times recently ran an excellent overview of the evolving state of data analytics. Big Data’s Impact in the World – NYTimes.com: “The story is similar in fields as varied as science and sports, advertising and public health – a drift toward data-driven discovery and decision-making. “It’s a revolution,” says Gary King, director […]

Tagged , ,

Richard Feynman On The Folly Of Crafting Precise Definitions

I’ve often struggled with the notion of definitions when working in organizations. On the one hand, too many of us hide our ignorance and uncertainty behind a wall of jargon and terminology. Terms fall in and out of favor and their relationship to the underlying real world is often less important than their value from […]

Tagged ,

Understanding the world around you – more insights from Richard Feynman

Another gem from Richard Feynman. In this clip he uses the game of chess to illustrate how scientists go from making observations about the world to better and better theories that account for the observations. There’s a lot of depth in this simple analogy and it’s well worth dedicating some of your own brain cycles […]

Tagged

Collaborating Minds

Some details about what my partner in collaboration, David Friedman, and I have been up to lately. For the past few months, my colleague Jim McGee and I have been hard at work on a project we’ve named Collaborating Minds. It will be an online problem-solving community — with a unique membership recruiting strategy. The […]

Tagged

Choosing to be productively stupid

Finally had a chance to read a very interesting essay in the Journal of Cell Science titled "The Importance of Stupidity in Scientific Research." In the wondrous ways of the web, this little gem from 2008 found its way into my life by way of a blog post by Matthew Cornell in January of this […]