Thursday, 28 February 2013

Critical thinking is a necessity of any Professional or Student. This is the human ability to think outside the parameters of normal everyday problem solving.


Thinking outside the box is more than just a business cliché. It means approaching problems in new, innovative ways; conceptualizing problems differently and understanding your position in relation to any particular situation in a way you’d never thought of before. Ironically, its a cliché that means to think of clichéd situations in ways that aren’t clichéd.

Critical thinking is a necessity of any Professional or Student. This is the human ability to think outside the parameters of normal everyday problem solving. Although problem solving is part of the critical thinking process, people are not born with this particular skill. People must be taught how to use it and be able to practice it in context of real life situations. Higher education academics are used to teach and promote this skill.

To define what constitutes the decision-making process one must ask themselves what critical thinking is.One must understand that Kurland (2000), “critical thinking enables us to recognize a wide range of subjective analyses of otherwise objective data, and to evaluate how well each analysis might meet our needs. Facts may be facts, but how we interpret them may vary” .

For what purpose is critical thinking used and when do we as individuals   use it? These questions can be answered by surveying the thinking process behind entering or returning to school. College students must be able to examine information and determine what part of that information is relevant and what information is purely opinion.

Critical thinking is not easily defined but what is known about its presence is that it influences a higher level of thinking. People who use critical thinking skills evaluate and identify information to guide their decision making. Recent interpretations suggests that critical thinking is, regarded as being intellectually engaged, skillful, and responsible thinking that facilitates good judgment. Critical thinking requires the application of assumptions, knowledge, competence, and the ability to challenge the individuals own thinking. Critical thinking skills require self-correction, monitoring to judge the reasonableness of thinking, and reflexivity.
Consider four steps to change how you work

1)Be Curious-  Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorious intellect. This would play,suspend judgement.

2)Make Connections-  Creativity is the power to connect the seemingly unconnected.For this talk to people in different fields,try something new,step sideways to see another angle.

3)Challange Yourself-  A person who had never made mistakes had never tried anything new.Take risks as well as accept failures.

4)Cultivate Your Ideas-  Give your ideas time to grow,consider all possibilities.

Thinking beyond the norm is sometimes referred to as thinking "outside the box", but for those that are typically logical or strategical thinkers, where do you start to become a creative thinking?   What value does this ability bring you and others around you?  Creative thinking, the ability to have fresh alternatives, have new possibilities, formulate new approaches to getting things done, and open one's self to new information that doesn't support your existing assumptions about the way people should do things in your company or life.   When creatively thinking, more efficient processes, more innovative product ideas, and better ways to serve customers are created. Techniques that assist in stimulating creative thinking:   Challenge your assumptions, welcome provocation, envision an ideal world, gather others perspectives, create the right environment. Unlike scientific thinking, based on data, information, and evidence, creative thinking allows you to use your imagine to come to an end solution.

Further including some points to think out of the box:-

# Be prepared for a big change: To re-educate yourself and the way you think is almost a "lifestyle" change. Basically, you're re-inventing the wheel and you are the wheel. Indications that it might be time to change your way of thinking include:
     * You're in a rut, you know you're in a rut, and no matter what you try, you fall back into the rut.
     * You can't come up with a solution to a nagging problem. Finally, someone else does and the answer was an incredibly obvious one; it happens a lot.
# Learn the terms: If you're familiar with the terms, you'll be in a great position to do some research into out-of-the-box thinking. Some of the terminology for modes of "thinking outside of the box" are:

    * Reframing
    * Lateral thinking
    * Process improvements

# Understand that, for a given problem, some people tend to come up with the more "creative" solutions. The inability to do so does not reflect a person's intelligence.What it does indicate is that people with such solutions are the ones who are more willing, or need, to push themselves out of their comfort zone to get the answers they seek. The principal characteristics for those who think outside of the box are usually:

    * A willingness to take new perspectives toward day-to-day work.
    * Capable of thinking differently with an open mind, think about the substance of issues, and be receptive to doing things differently.
    * Focused on the value of finding new ideas and acting on them.
    * Ready to strive to create value in newer ways.
    * Capable of listening to, supporting, nurturing and respecting others when they come up with new ideas.
 The driving force behind a lot of people who consistently think outside of the box is frustration. They don't feel that "enough" is being done, and that the "normal" way of thinking just isn't getting it done.

#Learn what inhibits your ability to change: The following characteristics lessen your ability to make a positive change in your thinking methods:

    * Negative attitude.
    * Fear of failure, perfectionism.
    * Executive stress, or other stress.

    * Following rules, hidebound to black and white thinking (not flexible, unable to perceive the value in gray areas).
    * Making assumptions – about others, about the world, about the expectations you feel weighing on you, about your own abilities.
    * Over-reliance on logic, along with assuming you have an accurate grasp of what is logical.

#Challenge assumptions: Just because it has always been that way, doesn't mean that it has to continue to be that way. In fact, by expecting things to never change, you're setting yourself up for a lot of pain and unhappiness when things – and people – do change around you, without taking you along. Ways to challenge assumptions include:

    * Ask questions. Don't ignore your questions; give them free rein.
    * Stop jumping to hasty conclusions. Haste makes waste and can leave you in hot water. Reflect over things until the better answer arrives.
    * Look at something a different way, literally. Perhaps you've been hammering out a new design for something at work. You've been looking at this design for weeks, always in the same position. Try shifting it. Turn the design upside down, or take it out into the sunshine under the trees, or project it into the ceiling and have all of your co-workers lie in the floor to observe it. You'll be amazed at what a position change can do for assumptions and perspective.

#Stop pushing that rock uphill: Break free of dull routine. Doing the same thing, day in and day out, will dull even the smartest person's mind. Find ways of minimizing routine in your life, while still embracing ritual – the two approaches are very different in result. Ritual is about daily or regular activities that center you, keep you well (such as exercise or yoga), and give you a sense of place and identity. Routine is about the things that cause you to fall into a rut, respond without thinking, and that often feel imposed upon you from elsewhere.

    * Change it up, occasionally. Do things differently. Instead of photocopying all the documents first thing in the morning, email them around to everyone and tell them the copier's broken. Next morning, email everything again, telling everyone how well yesterday went and that you've decided to do it like this from now on.
    * Change your appearance and clothes. Many a rut is given a swift kick when you treat yourself to a new look. It's a start, and a really fun one at that.
    * Walk a different way to work, catch a bus instead of driving, bring your lunch in instead of eating out (or vice versa), go home early for a change.

#Brainstorm: Brainstorming can do amazing things to help you think outside-the-box. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

    * Think of vague keywords like "coffee" and follow whatever this leads to next in your mind, and take it as far as you can go; this can lead to interesting ideas. For example: "Coffee" -> "Milk" -> "Spilled" -> "Unspillable milk and coffee container".
    * Do brain teasers, puzzles, psychometric tests, etc., and challenge your brain to new ways of doing and seeing things.
    * If you hated math, English or science, try it again; this time make yourself do it well. Force your mind to think down different pathways.
    * Learn a new language, a new way of keeping inventory, a new way to be a great boss or lover.
    * Write poems. Poems can spark your creative thinking.
    * Visualize work or home solutions through drawing pictures rather than writing things down.

#Think laterally: It can be really beneficial to learn about how people do it in other walks of life. Whether you're a CEO, an engineer, a stay-at-home mom, or a teacher, there are ways of thinking laterally that can benefit what you're doing.

    * Read about processes and solutions in industries different from the one you're working in. Chances are there are some amazing answers for you to uncover and apply to your situation.
    * The same goes for cross-disciplinary studies. Instead of staying within your own expertise, branch out and investigate what other disciplines are doing in areas or topics that interest you. There may be some surprising connections worth uncovering and adapting.
    * Sit down and talk with others who know nothing about what you're doing but are willing listeners. Explain your situation and challenges and ask for their thoughts on solutions.

Abiquo, Adaptivity, Oracle, Rackspace, Terremark, Dell, Layered Tech, McAfee, Quest Software,, Fusion-IO, LogLogic, OpSource, Oxygen Cloud, Spoon, Stoneware, and Virtela.


Monika Singh

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