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Six Frames For Thinking about Information

By Edward de Bono (includes links to many of his other books)

Six frames

Amazon link: Six Frames




Today we are literally surrounded by information and it has never been so easy to obtain.

Yet, information itself is not enough; it’s how we look at it that really counts.

Using the ‘six frames’ technique is the key to extracting real value from the masses of facts and figures out there and, like all de Bono’s techniques, it is simple, effective and will utterly change the way you interpret information.

Find "Information" in Peter Drucker's work

 

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Preface

Attention is a very key part of thinking.

Yet we pay very little attention to attention itself.

It is assumed that it just happens.


Attention can be pulled or attracted to something unusual.

If you saw someone lying in the road, your attention would go to that person.

If you saw a bright pink dog, your attention, and your sympathy, would go to that dog.


That is precisely the weakness of attention.

It is pulled to the unusual.

How much attention do we pay to the usual?


Perception is a key part of thinking.

Research by David Perkins at Harvard has shown that ninety per cent of errors of thinking were errors of perception.

No amount of excellent logic will make up for errors of perception.

Goedel’s theorem shows that from within a situation no amount of logic can prove the starting points, which remain arbitrary perceptions.


Attention is a key element of perception.

Without the ability to direct attention, we see only the familiar patterns.

Directing attention

What can we do about attention?

Instead of waiting for our attention to be pulled towards something unusual, we can set out frameworks for ‘directing’ our attention in a conscious manner.


Just as we can decide to look north or south-east, so we can set up a framework for directing our attention.

That is what the Six Frames are all about.

Each frame is a direction in which to look.

We look and then notice, and note what we see in that direction.


In this way we can look for need satisfaction.

We can look for value.

We can look for interest.

We can look for accuracy, etc. Each of the Six Frames is used to direct our attention.

Masses of information

We are surrounded by information.

It has never been easier to obtain information (the internet, etc.)

But information by itself is not enough.

It is how we look at the information that matters.

How do we get the most value from the information?

That is an area that needs attention.


The Six Frames provide a method for extracting more value from information.

They are therefore as important as the information itself.


The method is very simple to use.

To be effective, however, it is essential to be deliberate and disciplined.

Just to believe you are doing something is not as good as doing that thing formally and deliberately.

Introduction

The big enemy of good thinking is confusion.


Unfortunately, the more active the mind, the greater the risk of confusion.

The aim of all good thinking is clarity.

But clarity is no good if it is at the expense of comprehensiveness.

To be very clear about a tiny part of the situation is no good at all and even dangerous.

There is a need to obtain clarity and comprehensiveness at the same time.


The main cause of confusion is trying to do everything at once.

When the mind tries to do everything at once, the mind ends up doing one thing thoroughly and other things hardly at all.

That is why my Six Thinking Hats is such a powerful framework.

In a discussion, if we try to do everything at once we end up in the negative and critical mode because this is the easiest mode and the one we use most often.

The Six Hats is now very widely used, even at top economic meetings, because it ensures a thorough exploration of the subject and a discussion that is constructive.


We live in an information age.

We are bombarded by information and we have easy access to as much information as we need—in fact much more than we need.

How do we react to that information?


If you have a very specific need for information and a very specific question that needs an answer, then you go to the right place and get the answer.

If you need to find a flight from London to Paris that leaves London as soon as possible after six in the evening, you go to an airline timetable or ask your travel agent.

There is still some thinking to be done regarding your choice of airport and airline.

The traffic on the road to Heathrow is likely to be very heavy at that time.


If we only dealt with information that we really needed, life would be simpler but very limited and very dull.

We also need to react to the information that we come across on television and radio and in newspapers, magazines and other people’s conversations.

How do we react to that information?


There are many important aspects of information, such as accuracy, bias, interest, relevance, value, etc. We could seek to assess these different aspects all at once.

We could also separate them out to avoid confusion and to make sure that we cover all the different ways of looking at the information.


That is what Six Frames For Thinking about Information seeks to do.

We look through one frame at a time.

How accurate is this information?

What bias is there in the information?

The Six Frames are laid out in this book.


You can get into the habit of using the frames yourself.

You can deliberately direct your attention to one or other frame.

You can ask someone else to use a particular frame: ‘Try the Square Frame on this.

What do you see?’

The frames can also be used in a discussion where everyone adopts the same frame at a given moment.


If you ask someone to go out into the garden and look at all the colours, that person is likely to notice the dominant colours—red in roses, yellow in daffodils, etc.—but may not notice colours that are less obvious.

If you asked the same person to go out and look for the colour blue, and then the colour red and then the colour yellow, the attention scan would be much more comprehensive.


Having frames for thinking about information means that with each frame the mind is prepared and sensitised to notice different things.

We can pay attention to the accuracy of the information.

We can pay attention to the point of view expressed in the information.

We can pay attention to the interest in the information.

Each frame prepares the mind to look at the information in a specific way.

We see what we are prepared to see.


The Six Frames described in this book provide a simple tool for experiencing and looking at information.


There is an unexpected outcome when the Six Thinking Hats are used.

The framework might seem to complicate discussions and make them much longer.

In fact, use of the Hats reduces meeting time to a quarter or even a tenth.

In the same way, the Six Frames greatly simplify the way we look at information instead of complicating it.

Doing one thing at a time is simpler than trying to do many things and worrying that we might be leaving out something important.


As you read through this book, keep the image of each frame clearly in mind.

This image becomes the trigger symbol for each of the six ways we need to think about information.

At times we may choose to focus on one way of thinking about information rather than another.

That now becomes a deliberate choice.


By separating out the different ways of thinking about information and by symbolising these different ways as frames of various shapes, we take control of the way our mind performs.

We can now direct our attention more deliberately rather than letting it wander in its own confused way.


We know that perception is the most important part of thinking.

So the way we perceive information is all-important.

 

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  • Six Frames for Thinking about Information
    • Preface (about attention, perception, information)
      • Directing attention (the function of the Six Frames)
      • Masses of information
    • Introduction
    • Purpose: The Triangle Frame
      • Notice
      • Time-filling and distraction
      • Awareness
      • Interest
      • General interest
      • Specific interest
      • Browse and scan
      • Need and search
      • What and where?
      • Confirmation
      • Very specific questions
      • Where?
      • The triangle frame
        • Point 1: WHAT?
        • Point 2: WHY?
        • Point 3: WHERE?
      • Offering information
      • Summary
    • Accuracy: The Circle Frame
      • Authority
      • Internal checking
      • Comparative accuracy
      • Adequate accuracy
      • Doubts
      • The circle frame
      • Summary
    • Point of view: The Square Frame
      • Persuasion
      • Difficulty of balance
      • The use of adjectives
      • Point of view
      • The power of balance
      • Alternative views from the same point
      • The square frame
      • Summary
    • Interest: The Heart Frame
      • General interest
      • Addition
      • Research
      • Special interest
      • Note-taking
      • Mining
      • The heart frame
      • Summary
    • Value: The Diamond Frame
      • Need satisfaction
      • Question answered
      • Interest value
      • Confirmation value
      • Disagreement value
      • Opportunity
      • Awareness of the world around us
      • Enrichment
      • Note-taking
      • Six Value Medals
        • Gold Medal
        • Silver Medal
        • Steel Medal
        • Glass Meda
        • Wood Medal
        • Brass Medal
        • Medal Usage
      • The diamond frame
      • Summary
    • Outcome: The Slab Frame
      • Next step
      • So what?
      • Information report
      • Computers
      • The slab frame
      • Summary
    • Summary
    • Truth paste
    • About the author

 

“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic”. — Peter Drucker


The shift from manual workers who do as they are being told — either by the task or by the boss — to knowledge workers who have to manage themselves ↓ profoundly challenges social structure

Managing Oneself is a REVOLUTION in human affairs.” … “It also requires an almost 180-degree change in the knowledge workers’ thoughts and actions from what most of us—even of the younger generation—still take for granted as the way to think and the way to act.” …

… “Managing Oneself is based on the very opposite realities: Workers are likely to outlive organizations (and therefore, employers can’t be depended on for designing your life), and the knowledge worker has mobility.” ← in a context

 

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These pages are attention directing tools for navigating a world moving toward unimagined futures.

It’s up to you to figure out what to harvest and calendarize
working something out in time (1915, 1940, 1970 … 2040 … the outer limit of your concern)nobody is going to do it for you.

It may be a step forward to actively reject something (rather than just passively ignoring) and then figure out a coping plan for what you’ve rejected.

Your future is between your ears and our future is between our collective ears — it can’t be otherwise. A site exploration starting point

 

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