brainroads-toward-tomorrows mental patterns


pyramid to dna

Thinking canvas © and thinking canvases ©

Thinking Canvas Purposes: to see the action landscape—social and economic environment in time; thinking through the right actions; and determine the appropriate reminders to be entered in one's action management system.

Thinking canvases are attention-directing tools which are interwoven with mental patterns.

Writing out what you see
is different from saying it
mentally or verbally. It makes you decide.

Additionally, what are the implications of what you see?

Maybe this will help you SEE!

Thinking Broad and Thinking Detailed by Edward de Bono




What Everybody Knows Is Frequently Wrong ::: If You Keep Doing What Worked in the Past You’re Going to Fail ::: Approach Problems with Your Ignorance—Not Your Experience ::: Develop Expertise Outside Your Field to Be an Effective Manager ::: Outstanding Performance Is Inconsistent with Fear of Failure ::: You Must Know Your People to Lead Them ::: People Have No Limits, Even After Failure ::: Base Your Strategy on the Situation, Not on a Formula — A Class With Drucker: The Lost Lessons of the World's Greatest Management Teacher




Thinking canvases are thinking blueprints which are part of an action system (what do I have to do … to …?)

bbx A thinking canvas may be an early step in calendarization. Or a part of blue hat thinking for figuring out where one is and where one goes next. See connect, only connect

bbx Useful in concepts to daily action, collecting thoughts on a topic or creating and portraying a system view (radar design). What is the composition of an action area and what de-mystification would be useful?

bbx Can be done on printer or copy paper OR electronically (mind mapping or illustration software)

bbx Schedule a reminder to work on the canvas

bbx Spend some time creating a future directed decision foundation (FDDF). How broad does the canvas need to be? Does it need to capture the entire universe of the main topic? Does it need to capture related universes?

bbx Schedule reminders to carry out conclusions

bbx Test: Are the conclusions adequate to the challenges ahead?

bbx Test: Is my action management system adequate to the challenges ahead?

blank thinking canvas

bbx The master preliminary thinking canvas should essentially and eventually capture everything about the topic—not the details but the surrounding walls.

bbx Attention focusing

bbx Six Thinking Hats overview (PDF). Six Thinking Hats table of contents with some quotes. Thinking broad and thinking detailed. Dense listening and dense reading. See Edward de Bono bio and Snacks for more thinking ideas

bbx Defining the thinking question. See Peter Drucker on Effective Decisions: "What is the decision all about?" What needs doing? What's the right thing to do? Specifically: "What are the challenges AHEAD?"



situation see explore judge

bbx Connection to the individual's effectiveness (The Effective Executive in Action)

bbx What will it lead to? Where will it leave me?
roads ahead

bbx What would be the consequences of ignoring the topic or area?

bbx Thinking canvas content alternatives

bbx David Allens' Natural Planning Technique

Topic thinking guide

I suggest you focus on one topic at a time

And then first ask: What do these issues, these challenges MEAN for our organization and for me as a knowledge worker, a professional, an executive?

Once you have thought this through, ask:

What ACTION should our organization and I, the individual knowledge worker and/or executive, take to make the challenges of this topic into OPPORTUNITIES for our organization and me?


The topic referred to above can be elevated by using the ideas in thinking broad and thinking detailed to get to the highest strategic level, mind mapping some alternatives, and then possibly re-perceiving the topic

Content 101

mind map

Examining the clues:


Anxiety diagnosis (below)


steven seagal title chart thinking canvas

thinking canvas ipad pop science

Full size



Bigger 1 or 2


larger version


More examples: 1 ::: 2 ::: 3 ::: 4 ::: 5


Curio Welcome

Screenshot of Zengobi Curio. Used with permission from Zengobi

Larger view


Screenshot of Zengobi Curio. Used with permission from Zengobi

Larger view


Screenshot of Zengobi Curio. Used with permission from Zengobi

Larger view


Screenshot of Zengobi Curio. Used with permission from Zengobi

Larger view


Screenshot of Zengobi Curio. Used with permission from Zengobi

Larger view


Screenshot of Zengobi Curio. Used with permission from Zengobi

Larger view


Screenshot of Zengobi Curio. Used with permission from Zengobi

Larger view


Screenshot of Zengobi Curio. Used with permission from Zengobi

Larger view

Larger view

thinking canvas


thinking canvas content

TEC-PISCO framework


Larger view

The content for the diagram above came from Edward de Bono's The Happiness Purpose


Icons for thinking canvases

The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures

Coming to conclusions

thinking canvas master

From conclusions to implementation calendarization

layered mind maps

Strategic system moving in time: full size and icon views

life design to daily work

work maps to model calendars

Model calendars

aeon timeline

Larger ::: Aeon Timeline

Thinking canvas software:

  • Mind mapping: NovaMind
  • Diagraming or illustration: OmniGraffle (Add voice notes to a thinking—discussion— canvas > transcribe > edit > re-record > revisit)
  • Outlining: OmniOutliner

Thinking canvas examples: (calendarize)

  1. Tag structures and tag maps
  2. What's next
  3. Life design concept map
  4. My radar (top level)
  5. Knowledge system view
  6. It's our mental patterns
  7. Time-Life Navigation Payoff
  8. Time-Life Navigation site map
  9. Strategic work plan
  10. From blue print to daily work
  11. Organization evolution concept map
  12. Linear view of organization evolution
  13. Healthy financial architecture
  14. Why great companies fail
  15. Intel map-Connect, connect, connect
  16. Work and effort directions
  17. Chief TLN officer
  18. Guided tour links


“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




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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