Change Implementation Techniques for Forming Transitional Team, Creating Alignment, Maximizing Connectedness and Creativity

Self-Organising Systems

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The human brain is an information system that is self-organising, self-selective, self-maximising, pattern-making and pattern-using.

"...A self-organizing system is a system with a life of its own. What it does, it does without outside intervention....Selection is a natural function of the system, and the system decides the flow..."

Piers Dudgeon, 2001

A self-organising system isone which allows incoming information to organise itself into routine patterns. The brain is wired to be most effective when it makes its own connections and patterns. These patterns form the basis for perception, and arerelative to culture and time. These patterns can become the root cause of countless superstitions, biases, prejudices and strategic errors. In other words, the self-organising brain is designed to work against creativity!!!!!!!

When we look at something familiar, we instantly recognise it instead of having to work it out afresh every time - such as getting dressed in the morning (with 11 pieces of clothing to choose from, there are around 40 million possible ways of getting dressed or if you tried a new way of dressing every waking minute, you would be around 76 years old when you tried the last option).

Routines simplify life in regard to perception and action. It is true that we can get trapped in routines and need creative thinking to get us out of the rut.

Remember: facts do not change but people's perceptions of them differ. Furthermore, our perceptions become our reality

Most of the mistakes in thinking are not mistakes of logic but mistakes of perception.

"...Errors of logic are rare; most errors in our thinking are errors of perception..."

Edward deBono as quoted by Piers Dudgeon, 2001

Once it is understood that perception is based on the behaviour of the neural networks of the brain as a self-organising information system, tools and techniques can be used to facilitate and encourage creative thinking.

An invaluable creative idea is logical in hindsight. As a result, it is often assumed that we could have reached the idea by logic rather than by creativity. This misconception is based on the notion of a passive information system. But the brain is a self-organising, active information system and asymmetrical patterns are formed. This means that the route from A to B maybe roundabout but the route from B to A could be direct. This is the basis for both humour and creativity.


"'s natural inclination is to cling to his beliefs, particularly if they are reinforced by recent experience..."

Warren Buffett, 2001

Apparently, Charles Darwin used to say that whenever he found something that contradicted a conclusion he favoured, he was obliged to write the new finding down within 30 minutes. Otherwise his mind would work to reject the discordant information, much as the body rejects transplants

Linked with this is a concept of latent inhibition; the ability to filter out irrelevant stimuli. For example, while reading a book walking down the street and holding a conversation; or sleeping a noisy room. It is suggested that this may hold back our creativity.

"...Creative people are less able to filter out irrelevant thoughts, permitting them to make more creative associations......Lowering your filtering threshold to allow the mind to wander may permit information to pour in obliquely, facilitating extraordinary associations..."

Mark Lythgoe, 2005

Edward deBono goes further, when he claims

"...reading other people's ideas encourages firm acceptance or violent rejection, either of which inhibits the formation of original ideas..."

Edward deBono as quoted by Piers Dudgeon, 2001

Most conventional thinking is like water in a river. It finds the path of least resistance. Creative thinking involves finding a different path.

Traditionally managers are promoted after excelling at a range of junior roles that revolve around keeping everything moving along smoothly. They are adept at achieving continuity but not necessarily creativity. However, once at a senior level these former junior managers are supposed to be strategic and creative. In other words,

" order to reach a senior position you probably have to be without those talents you need when you get there....... you have not had to demonstrate creativity to get there..."

Edward deBono as quoted by Catherine Fox, 2004

Remember that being different does not necessarily mean being creative

Paradigm shifts usually come from outside the discipline under study

"...the great advances in science are down to paradigm shifts brought about by an inspired deception or insight, which calls into question the logic of the prevailing interpretation.......Yet we love to pre-serve the prevailing or conventional perception..."

Piers Dudgeon, 2001


"...The feeling of defensiveness and xenophobia aroused by researchers who stray from a particular speciality remains strong in science even today. This is unfortunate, for the most brilliant insights are often by those outside the immediate field concerned..."

Tim Flannery, 2005

For example,

- 3 non-palaeontologists (a geologist - Walter Alvarez, a physicist - Luis Alvarez, and a nuclear chemist ‐ Frank Asaro) made the discovery that the dinosaurs did not disappear slowly but suddenly from an explosive event. Initially there was a strong negative reaction to this idea from trained palaeontologists!!!!

- George Mendal's work in genetics yet he was trained as a monk

- Charles Darwin's work on evolution yet he was trained to be a "man of the cloth"

- Maynard Keynes' greatest influence was in economics yet he was trained as a philosopher

- James Farrer, who found ways to handle "rust" in wheat, was a land surveyor

- Helen Newton-Turner, one of the world's leading animal geneticists, was trained as an architect

- James Croll, who partly explained how variations in the Earth's orbit might have precipitated ice ages, was a janitor at Anderson University in 1860

- Alfred Wegener (meteorologist & explorer) proposed a theory on continental drift (that the continents wandered across the face of the earth, sometimes getting closer together but at other times moving apart). Yet at the time (1912) he proposed this, the leading geologists viciously rejected his theory

- Albert Einstein went on to change our perception of the universe yet he was a patent clerk who failed his college entrance exam

- Thomas Edison went on to invent motion pictures and the electric light bulb yet he had only three weeks of formal education and was partly deaf

- Wilbur and Orville Wright, who inaugurated the era of manned flight, were struggling bike mechanics

- William Bridges, an academic in English language and literature, developed a very successful framework in Change Management

- John Kotter, trained as a physicist,developed a very successful framework in Change Management (organisation)

"...this involves a new way of looking at information that has been available for everyone else..."

Edward deBono as quoted by Piers Dudgeon, 2001

"...the difference between a breakthrough and not can often be just a small element of perception..that puts things together in a different way..."

Brian Greene, 2003

"...too strict an adherence to a disciplinary track operates against the more open stances of the synthesizer or the creator. Options need to be kept open - a straight trajectory is less effective than one entailing numerous bypasses, and even a few disappointing but instructive cul-de-sacs..."

Howard Gardner, 2006a

Thus there is a need to change perceptions and keep on changing perceptions so that we are shaken out of our judgmental rock of existence. Creative thinking tools and techniques are an effective way to do this as they apply a deliberate, prescribed and systematic way to solve problems rather than a haphazard, chance and lucky approach. This involves provoking the brain to breakaway from its preferences for familiarity, association, emotional bias, etc. The brain is fundamentally uncreative

Never accept that there is only one way to things, even when things are going well!!!!!!!!!! For example, there was nothing wrong with the original detergents until someone thought of the concept of concentrating them. This made them 45% cheaper to handle and less shelf space was required in the store.

Furthermore, in addition to the ordinary expressions of anger, hatred, love, fear, joy, suspicion, jealousy, sorrow, depression, remorse, sadness, etc, there are the ego-emotions (pride, power, insecurity, drawing attention, the need to be right all the time, feeling important, not being fooled, etc).

"...emotions usually come first and then the thinking is used to support and backup the emotions. Even when thinking does come first, the emotions give it power. All decisions and choices are emotional....All decisions are naturally based on fear, greed or laziness..."

Edward deBono as quoted by Pier Dudgeon, 2001

(sources: Edward deBono, 1998; Warren Buffett, 2001; Piers Dudgeon, 2001; Peter Drucker, 2001; Brian Greene, 2003; Bill Bryson, 2004; Catherine Fox, 2004; Mark Lythgoe, 2005; Tim Flannery, 2005; Martyn Newman, 2007)


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