Arranging Ideas Grab Bag

Here are a few items related to the theme of arranging ideas (content management, knowledge management, information gathering, cognitive science, creativity, etc.) that have caught my interest lately…

TOP OF THIS LIST: Blink, a new book by Malcolm Gladwell (author of The Tipping Point) is due out in January 2005 – and I can’t wait to read it. Blink is about rapid cognition – the kind of thinking that happens in a blink of an eye.

Gladwell explains, “You could also say that it’s a book about intuition, except that I don’t like that word. In fact it never appears in Blink. Intuition strikes me as a concept we use to describe emotional reactions, gut feelings – thoughts and impressions that don’t’ seem entirely rational. But I think that what goes on in that first two seconds is perfectly rational. It’s thinking – its just thinking that moves a little faster and operates a little more mysteriously than the kind of deliberate, conscious decision-making that we usually associate with ‘thinking.'”

I agree that rapid cognition and intuition are two different aspects of how the mind works, but I think Gladwell sells intuition waaaaaaayyyyy short. I’ll blog more on that later, after I’ve read Blink.

Also, Gladwell is the subject of the January 2005 Fast Company cover story, The Accidental Guru.

Read the rest of this list…

  1. Beyond industrialization, by Jack Vinson, Dec. 7. Excerpt: “Knowledge work is not an activity that can be easily reduced to repeatable, mechanical steps. The management approach needs to be geared towards providing focus and context, and knowledge workers derive their own inner compass for doing the best work they can.”
  2. The Trouble with Out-of-the-Box Thinking, by Andrew Hargadon, Ubiquity, September 2003. This interview made me reconsider what innovation is really all about. Excerpt: “Pushing people harder to think out of the box doesn’t work. Many of the revolutionary ideas in the technologies and arts don’t come from the person who solves the problem by thinking out of their box. It comes from the person who has seen the right solution already somewhere else – who has other boxes to think in.
  3. Tell it like it is. Yet another example of the power and value of storytelling. This article by Shawn Callahan was originally published in the magazine HR Monthly, and was republished with permission (in PDF format) by the weblog Anecdote. Excerpt: “Getting workers to tell anecdotes about how they work and who they work with can dig a lot deeper than regular interviews and surveys.” (Thanks to Column Two for this link.)

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  1. Amy, I’ve just discovered MindModel, a true RDBMS that doesn’t look like one. It basically answers to a simple grammar of “nouns,” “verbs,” “prepositions,” “subjects,” “objects,” and “statements,” and lets you manage intertwingled stuff without being a programmer and with incredible facility.

    Moreover, the web-based version lets you create a database-driven web site in hours. Kind of amazing, and worthy of inclusion in your assortment of “Arranging Ideas” (whether it is “ideas for arranging” or “the arranging of ideas”…:-))