Friday, January 26


Yes or No? But, before even attempting to answer this question, you might want to explore what kind of thinking skills a 21st Century thinker should acquire to be successful in the world beyond family life and education.  


According to The Future of Jobs Report (World Economic Forum) six out of the top 10 skills predicted in 2020 to be in demand by the corporate world, are thinking-intensive skills (Interestingly, all 10 are basically soft skills). As a framework to decide whether we are 21st Century thinkers, let’s use these six identified skills (refer to the drawing above). 

So, are you good at COMPLEX PROBLEM SOLVING? What about CRITICAL THINKING? What is critical thinking anyway? Ironically, I have personally yet to find a global unified accepted definition on what critical thinking really is? If you ask me, critical thinking is just an umbrella term for many types of thinking (combined), including analyzing, decision making, problem solving, reasoning and evaluation. And if you break critical thinking down like this, you might realize for example that you are awesome at analyzing things, but crap at decision making. If so, are you crap or awesome at critical thinking? 

I was assigned to teach critical thinking in 2007 at a University (UNITAR) in Malaysia, and just found it extremely weird to facilitate critical thinking separately from creative thinking, and as a result I actually redesigned the whole course. If you want to read about that adventure, CLICK HERE (4859 words).

What about CREATIVITY? Are you a creative person? Are you open and good at exploring new ideas, problem solving and problem finding? Are you good at working in teams (or groups) to brainstorm and innovate new solutions? 

What about EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE? While it is easy to find mistakes in others, how good are we in spotting our own emotional (feelings) and behavioral weaknesses when interacting with people? And once recognizing them, what do we to improve ourselves? How do we manage and/or adjust our emotions to adapt to different environments, or achieve our goals (Source)?

What about making JUDGMENTS and DECISION MAKING? Do we make good decisions when challenged to do so? Do we involve others in the decision making process? If you are a CEO for a big company, and have knowingly made a bad decision, would you overturn it? What if you’re bad decision was discovered and corrected by your new employee who you really don’t like? What would you do?

Do you have COGNITIVE FLEXIBILITY? Do you have the mental ability to switch between thinking about two different concepts, and to think about multiple concepts simultaneously, such as the perspectives of opposing viewpoints (Source).  

So, do you have any, some or all of these six thinking-intensive skills? To what degree? 


More importantly, what THINKING TOOLS (Socratic method, six thinking hats, design thinking, etc.) have you used, or are using today to improve your thinking individually, and in groups? Are the thinking tools utilized led to better ideas, processes, products, services and solutions?

In part 3, I will Insya-Allah share with you a few awesome thinking tools that you can use to spice up your thinking individually and in groups. 

But, before that, why not use your thinking skills to decipher and make sense of my drawing below? It basically reveals the idea process from conceptualization to solution(s). What more can you decipher from this drawing?

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