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MENTAL MODELSLessons From The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook by Senge,Kleiker, Roberts, Ross and Smith Presentation by Amy Rae @elucidateamy & Joanna Beltowska @jbeltowska
It’s easy to recognize miscommunication, but more difficult to identify why it happens.
SH ORT T ER M PE RC E PT ION SMental Modelsare the images, assumptions, andstories which we carry in our minds ofourselves, other people, institutions,and every aspect of the world. Theycan help us understand whymiscommunications happen. SE M I -PERMANENT M A PS
Our FilterMental Models help us sift throughand process huge amounts of datadaily. Without them, we’d beoverwhelmed by existence.
Unique PerceptionThey profoundly influence our liveson an individual level, like acolored lens becoming moresaturated over time.
Unique PerceptionThey profoundly influence our liveson an individual level, like acolored lens becoming moresaturated over time. Joe
Unique PerceptionThey profoundly influence our liveson an individual level, like acolored lens becoming moresaturated over time. Jim Joe
Like computer models or architectural models, mental models offer an imperfect butuseful representation of reality.
In addition to being tacit...Mental Models are flawed
Mental Models are flawedExercise:Match the images below with a job title. DO G S I TTER M CD ON A L D’ S E MP LOY E E A ST R O PH Y SI C I ST
Mental Models are flawedMaking choices like this reveals a uniqueunderlying %amework for decision making:a$ of our past experiences. In moments likethis, assumptions run rampant. M CDO NA L D’ S D OGSI TTE R E MPL OY EE A ST R O PH Y SI C I ST
These exercises helped us reflecton our own models momentarily. True exploration, though, is onlyfound through continuous inquiry and deep reflection over time.
Your Social Life SH ORT T ER M PE RC E PT ION Smatters more than you think. Eachinteraction creates neurologicalpathways, like ruts and grooves inyour brain. The more we think,behave, and interact in a certainway, the deeper ruts and grooves SE M I -PERMANENTbecome. Ultimately, these are our M A PSneural networks: the science behindmental models.
I T AK E ACT I ON B A SE D ON BE L I E F S I A DOP T BE LI E F S I DR AW CONC LUS I ONSLadder of Inference I MAK E AS SUM PT I ONS B A SE D ON T HEHow Mental Models are Formed “ DAT A” I A DDE D I ADD ME A NI NG S ( CUL TU RA L, P E RS O NAL ) I S E L E CT “ DAT A” F RO M WH AT I O B SE R V E OB S E RV AB L E “D ATA” AND E XP E R I E NCE S
I T AK E ACT I ON B A SE D ON BE L I E F S I A DOP T BE LI E F S I DR AW CONC LUS I ONSThe more frequent the I MAK Eclimb, the easier it AS SUM PT I ONS B A SE D ON T HE “ DAT A” I A DDE Dbecomes. I ADD ME A NI NG S ( CUL TU RA L, P E RS O NAL ) I S E L E CT “ DAT A” F RO M WH AT I O B SE R V E OB S E RV AB L E “D ATA” AND E XP E R I E NCE S
The “Expert Problem”Specialists fall into Mental Models’ trapseasily, because we tend to work withthose who share a common worldview.This can get us into trouble when trying tocommunicate with others who do notshare our expertise.
User ExperienceThose who design for others, specificallydigital user experience, should be very awareof Mental Models. Each design mustaccount for individuals’ unique knowledgeand expectations.
Your ColleaguesEveryone wants to work in a harmonious,tolerant work environment. Thinking aboutyour colleagues’ Mental Models beforejumping to conclusions will yield more hugsand better work. We promise. ES AT VERY TOLERANT COLLEAGU D UNDERCURRENT: @TAFTCAR AND @MATTHEWCA RLIN
Mental Models in BusinessWhy corporations should (and do) care.
Shell: A Realization That Ushered In A New World ViewB Y D I S COV E R IN G AND ACKNOWLEDGING MENTAL MODELS, SHELL C O M P L E T E LY T R A N S F O R M E D T H E I R B U S I N E S S★ PREDOMINANT MENTAL MODELThe oil industry is stable and predictable.Managers failed to take predicted scenariosseriously.★ MODEL OF INQUIRYScenario planning★ SUGGESTED ACTIONScenario forecasting for managers★ OUTCOME1970: The weakest big oil company1979: The strongest big oil company
NASA: The Perils of Mental ModelsT WO DI S A S TER S THAT WERE NOT A FAULT OF ENGINEERING BUT C AUS E D B Y N A S A’ S M E N TA L M O D E L S★ PREDOMINANT MENTAL MODELNASA is flawless. Successful outcomescaused people to ignore disconfirminginformation, out of spec performance anddysfunctional decision processes.★ MODEL OF INQUIRYInvestigative report post Columbiaaccident★ SUGGESTED ACTIONUnknown★ OUTCOMEHalted replacement of orbiter
“Creativity is mixing and matching patterns ofeverything youve ever experienced or come to knowin your lifetime. Its saying "this is kinda like that." Theneural mechanism for doing this is everywhere in thecortex.” - On Intelligence, Jeff Hawkins
E X P L IC IT K N OW L E D G E TAC IT KNO WLE DGE When interacting with others, never forget toappreciate the vast amount of lived experience and knowledge below the surface.