Cats, Catbert, Categories, and Continuums
How do we make order out of everyday chaos? Edward de Bono, author of over 60 books on creative thinking, offers the explanation that our brains are self-patterning mechanisms. When confronted with new information, we place it into a pre-existing place in our brain, much the same as placing it into a file folder on a computer or in our desk drawer. Even with the simplicity of sorting through emails at the end of each day; to read now, read later, or delete; the sorting mechanism we use is rarely random. In so doing, we use files, labeled by categories, to create order. New breeds of cats or dogs might be placed in either the mammal file or pet file. Catbert might be filed along with Dilbert characters. New types of apples or oranges could end up in the fruit file. New movies about zombies, perhaps in the apocalyptic film category, or even comedies (think Zombieland).
Yet, in the process of placing new discoveries into categories, the differences between these unique items may be hard to discern. Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, and Jimmy Fallon fall into the category of "past or present hosts of The Tonight Show," yet to their viewers they are not the same. Neither are doctors, vice presidents, project managers, and teachers, labels we use every day. The differences between items in the same category appear in how they are used, such as the specific role of the teacher or vice president.
Category Thinking represents our daily use of filing systems, both physical and mental, to create order in our minds, offices, factories, computers, kitchens, and garages. It has strong parallels to the design concept of interchangeable parts, wherein all parts manufactured to the same requirements are treated as identical, even though they differ. The differences appear later, in subsequent operations. Continuum Thinking recognizes these differences, as when sorting through fruit for ideal ripeness. The purposeful use of Continuum Thinking allows these differences to be well managed, leading to dramatic improvements in integration efforts, whether they appear in the final assembly of an airplane, the delivery of a joke, the baking of an apple pie, or the final integration of a new software product.
If you are interested in exploring the prospects of Category and Continuum Thinking, as well as the the ability to improve how we think, learn, and work together, we invite you to join with peers at the In2:InThinking Network's 2014 Forum in Los Angeles, California, from June 18th through 22nd, on the campus of California State University, Northridge (CSUN). This year, our ever timely focus will be;
"Succeed with Inquiry: Insights, Knowledge, Action"
For more information, visit our 2014 Forum website
or e-mail us at email@example.com
. Our Forum registration fee is $400 for our Weekend Conference, with a $50 discount for registrations received by midnight, Pacific Time, on May 7th.
If you are not able to attend our Weekend Conference, you are most welcome to attend any of our 14 Pre-Conference sessions, all free, with the exception of a $40 material fee for one (N - What We're Learning About the Brain). Webcasting is also an option; find details at this link. A $25 discount on our webcasting offer is in place until May 7th.
Register by Friday, June 13th to reserve a residence hall suite at CSUN
Register by Thursday, June 19th to reserve our discounted rate at the Airtel Plaza Hotel
Register by Monday, June 16th to attend any of our Pre-Conference sessions
Register by Saturday, June 21st to attend our Weekend Conference
If you are not ready to register, but are likely to attend, please complete our RSVP Survey to help us with attendee estimates in our planning efforts.
For a glimpse of the excitement we offer, link here for a photo montage from our 2012 Forum. Link here for a complete list of our previous 2014 Forum UPDATES.
In2:InThinking Network 2014 Forum Team