too busy to think

from a session on problem framing

people are too busy to think. too involved by little things. the in-box. what other people want you to look at

problem framing thoughts

  1. do not accept first frame –
  2. when given choices, break the structure – ‘red or dead?’ switch to ‘what is the nuclear threat’
  3. cognitive empathy – try argue something you do not believe in. the other side’s
  4. use scenarios to identify or discover issues, rather than solutions. if it is true, what does it mean
  5. do not dismiss a scenario. dismiss its main component
  6. sensitize – ‘i have never thought of this before’ – now, a scenario helped register another possibility
  7. plausible – were you work there are people you admire. ask them a ‘what-if’ and see if they see it possible vs likely

the tyranny of small decisions – a sequence of small decisions. each is right, but the path is wrong

‘we will only deal with hard data, not speculation’ limits thinking

hard data is never hard

repeat small errors are forgiven, one big error is not

from 9/11 report. example of good questions to challenge organization

  1. did you see how bad it could get?
  2. did you think current policies were working?
  3. did you think it was your job to make a change?

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One Response to “too busy to think”

  1. Yoav Leeran Says:


    Thanks for the invite to share and enjoy your thoughts and experiences.

    My humble addition is: Collect the info (where to go for the raw data, how to mine it, which data is relevant), Analize (different processes and different angle lead to different analysis), Decide (What to do, how, when, do you really need to act or change, can you wait, risk – reward, the cost of a mistake, BATNA, Etc.), Execute (make sure that what you decide happens and does not get derailed, monitor and adjust as you go).

    You are starting some thing here. Go as deep as you feel like. Do not hold back.

    A big hug,


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