How to think better

As Einstein wrote in 1936: “All of science is nothing more than the refinement of everyday thinking.” Why is it that a skill as important as thinking is not a key focus in traditional schools? Why don’t we have classes on decision-making, cognitive biases, and mental models? Can we learn how to think better? It’s …

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Idea evaluation: the other side of the creativity coin

Ideation is often thought to be mostly about idea generation. However, the process of developing ideas doesn’t stop there: it’s followed by an evaluation phase. Balancing idea generation with idea evaluation is crucial to the creative process. “Within the field of creativity, idea generation in general and the usefulness of idea generation methods has received …

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Systematic inventive thinking: the power of thinking inside the box

When talking about creativity, many people will tell you: “Think outside the box!” The catchphrase is so common in management consulting and business environments, it has become a bit of a cliché. What if innovation could be fostered by thinking inside the box instead? That’s what Systematic Inventive Thinking (SIT) aims to achieve. The history …

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Investing into the unknown with Lawrence Yeo

Welcome to this edition of the Mindful Makers interview series, where we go behind the scenes with prolific creators and explore what makes them creative and productive. I’m incredibly excited to chat with Lawrence Yeo, the writer and illustrator of More To That, a blog that delves into what makes humanity so fascinating. I first …

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Inner child and inner critic: a battle for creativity

“It takes a very long time to become young,” Pablo Picasso once said. Adults miss the innocent curiosity of their youth; artists strive to reclaim their lost childlike creativity. The creative process often feels like a constant battle between an inner child and an inner critic. Can this creative battle turn into creative balance? Becoming …

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Creative challenges with Alyssa X

Welcome to a new edition of our interview series, where we meet with prolific creators and go behind the scenes to understand their creative process. Alyssa X is an incredibly talented designer, full-stack developer, and entrepreneur. Beside her full-time job at Metal, she launched many creative experiments. Her portfolio of projects includes a design tool …

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From inspiration to idea sex: how to generate ideas on demand

Blank page syndrome, writer’s block—call it whatever you want, most creators have once faced this overwhelming lack of inspiration. If you do experience writer’s block from time to time, the best reaction is to go do something else: going for a walk, journaling, talking it out with a friend. Better yet, though, is to avoid …

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The art and science of mind wandering

“Sorry, I spaced out, what were you saying?” you ask your friend. It has happened to all of us: we are physically in place, while our mind is in another one. Mind wandering, while it can take many forms, is an experience of thought shared by all of humanity. Some people see it as a …

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From mental map to mental atlas

Mental maps, cognitive maps, mind maps… Scientists and popular psychologists alike have coined all kinds of thinking maps. What’s the difference? While it may be tempting to consider some of these maps more effective than others as thinking tools, the reality is that we need a collection of maps in order to make the most …

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Thinking in maps: from the Lascaux caves to modern knowledge graphs

What do hieroglyphs, flowcharts, road signs, and knowledge graphs have in common? They’re all thinking maps. Humans have been thinking in maps since the very first symbolic communication systems. While thinking in maps may first bring to mind the idea of cartography, a map does not need to be geographic—it can be any symbolic depiction …

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