Speed Thinking E Book


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In an easy, accessible style and just 23 pages you can get a complete overview of The Speed Thinking System.

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Speed Thinking E Book

  1. 1. Speed Wins!! The Hare causes an upset A free eBook by: Dr Ken Hudson Author, The Idea Generator & The Idea Accelerator. Founder, The Speed Thinking Zone www.thespeedthinkingzone.com
  2. 2. A quick note on Dr Ken Hudson: Dr Ken Hudson is the best selling author of The Idea Generator and The Idea Accelerator (Allen & Unwin, 2007, 2008). Collectively these books have been published in Australia, France, UK, Taiwan, Italy, Brazil and distributed in the US and India. He is the founder and chief starter of The Speed Thinking Zone. His vision is to help the young people of the world to improve their life—everyday. Dr Hudson was a former marketing director at American Express and has a B.Bus (UTS), MBA (UNE) and a PHD (UWS) in Organisational Creativity. He can be contacted by visiting: www.thespeedthinkingzone.com www.thespeedthinkingzone.com
  3. 3. Although this eBook remains the intellectual property of Dr Ken Hudson, he is happy for you to pass it on to anyone who might benefit from learning a new way to think better, faster. Any feedback please send him an email: info@thespeedthinkingzone.com www.thespeedthinkingzone.com
  4. 4. Table of Contents Introduction 5 What is Speed Thinking? 8 The Insight Behind Speed Thinking 10 The three components of the Speed Thinking System 11 The Magical Speed Thinking Formula 12 The 4-Step Speed Thinking Cycle 15 Speed Links 20 Why Speed Thinking Works 22 www.thespeedthinkingzone.com
  5. 5. Introduction Once upon a time there was a Greek story-teller who lived over 2500 years ago named Aesop. He created some of the most well-known fables including the Tortoise and the Hare. This is the story of a rather too-confident hare that challenged a slow-moving tortoise to a race. Half-way through, the hare decided to have a nap and when he awoke he realised that it was all too late, the tortoise had won the race. The moral of the fable? ‘Slow and steady’ wins the race. This has become one of the most important lessons we all learn as a child. But does it still hold? The proposition in this book is that we need to invent a new 21st century version of this fable in which there is a different ending. The Hare wins! Slow and steady gets left behind! Being able to think, act and learn quickly is the new way to win. www.thespeedthinkingzone.com
  6. 6. In Aesop’ time there was NO: • Broadband Internet • FaceBook • YouTube • Twitter • Google or • Wikipedia All these factors have contributed to a fast-changing environment. Everything is accelerating. Speed begets speed. Most of us are caught in a dilemma of having less and less time yet we are expected to do more and more! Some 150 years ago a man called Charles Darwin wrote a book which was to change our world. It was called ‘On the Origin of Species’ and he suggested that through a process of natural selection organisms that were best suited to their environment would have a better chance of survival than those who were not. In essence, if the environment changes than you must adapt to survive. www.thespeedthinkingzone.com
  7. 7. To paraphrase Darwin it is not ‘Survival of the Fittest’ but rather: ‘Survival of the Fastest’ The purpose of this eBook is to enable you to thrive in this changed environment. I have called this new way of adapting, Speed Thinking. This system will enable you to create ideas, solve solutions and make decisions faster and better than you ever imagined. By doing so you will become more productive, efficient and creative. If you are a student, Speed Thinking can help you to improve your study and exam results. It will stop you procrastinating. Not only will you be able to improve your results but you will feel better (e.g. research by Emily Pronin, 2008, et al suggest that thinking quickly can give you an immediate lift in mood). www.thespeedthinkingzone.com
  8. 8. What is Speed Thinking? Speed Thinking is a generative thinking system which enables any individual or team to deliberately and consciously accelerate the pace at which they normally think and act. The important points of this definition are: - Speed Thinking aims to generate movement, energy, ideas, solutions or a decision. - It complements but does not replace traditional thinking - Speed Thinking can be used by an individual, with a partner or a group. - It can be applied at work, home, school or university. The emphasis with Speed Thinking is on varying the pace at which you think, much like a light switch where you can switch easily between light and dark--in a similar way you can alternate between traditional thinking or speed thinking depending on the time available and the problem at hand. www.thespeedthinkingzone.com
  9. 9. An Analogy: Speed Thinking as a Digital Camera Remember only a few short years ago when you had a film camera? You carefully studied your intended shot and then took your picture. But you did not take many because you then had to have your pictures processed some time later. This was both costly and time-consuming. To take reasonable pictures took time and effort. With a digital camera you can take as many pictures, as quickly as you wish. After each picture, you can immediately evaluate it. There is no real cost other than a few seconds of your time. Because of this it also means that you can take many shots of the same scene until you get just the right one. If you are not happy with your picture then you keep snapping away. With only a few lessons, the digital camera can be used by kids right through to the elderly. The entire process is fast, fun and interactive. In many ways the digital camera represents Speed Thinking while the film camera is traditional thinking. With Speed Thinking there is no right or wrong approach, if in a few minutes your solution does not lead anywhere then you can start again. All you have lost is two minutes. www.thespeedthinkingzone.com
  10. 10. The Insight behind Speed Thinking After I completed a PHD in organisational creativity I established a creative thinking and innovation consulting business which I ran for five years. It was while working with managers from many international organisations that I noticed that they often produced outstanding work when I encouraged them to accelerate the pace at which they were working by limiting the time they had available. Based on this insight I started reducing the amount of time I gave managers to solve a problem, for example. There was little difference in output when I set a problem time limit at three hours rather than four. Even setting the time limit at two hours didn’t appear to impact the results. If anything, participants became more focused, energised and creative. Through a process of trial and error over literally hundreds of workshops I designed a totally new thinking system based on speed. www.thespeedthinkingzone.com
  11. 11. The three components of the Speed Thinking System: 1. The magic formula: Two minutes and nine possibilities 2. A 4-Step Cycle (Start, Evaluate, Build, Action) and 3. A new Speed Thinking Tool called Speed Links Speed Thinking is a skill that can be learned by anyone and with practice improved. Whilst some may be faster than others, I have not found a person who cannot improve their ability to think quicker and better given some practice and encouragement. Speed Thinking offers the best of both worlds – it adds ‘structure’ to your intuition and ‘speed’ to your analysis. The process and tools of Speed Thinking can be learned by anyone, of any age and used effectively almost immediately. The emphasis with Speed Thinking is not to ‘think without thinking’ (the sub-heading from Malcolm Gladwell’s successful book called Blink, 2005) but not to over-think. www.thespeedthinkingzone.com
  12. 12. 1: The Magical Speed Thinking Formula After I completed my doctorate in Organisational Creativity, I established a creative thinking and innovation business and worked with many leading business leaders to help them create new products, solve problems or develop new revenue growth opportunities I noticed that when I paradoxically gave them less time than they were used to or expected they often produced amazing work. It was more original, innovative and they felt more energised. This seemed counter-intuitive. How could people produce better results in shorter time? Over a number of years and literally hundreds of workshops I kept reducing the amount of time to complete an exercise and lo and behold I kept achieving outstanding results. In these short bursts of activity, managers seemed more creative, energised and productive. Based on these observations, I kept asking myself, what is the shortest amount of time that I could give an individual or group to start to solve a problem? My finding will surprise you. www.thespeedthinkingzone.com
  13. 13. My answer? Two minutes! It was the shortest amount of time that I could imagine and participants in my workshops seemed to be able unlock their own two minutes of magic at will. But there was another piece to this puzzle. After a while people became used to the shorter time and would then revert back to a slower, more comfortable, business-as-usual thinking pace. In order to overcome this I added a target of at least nine possibilities that participants had to try and achieve. The number nine emerged because it was the highest number that anyone could achieve in two minutes. I thought that if one person could reach that figure then perhaps others could as well. This created a ‘stretch’ target that encouraged people not to filter (more on this later). How many ideas did you come up with--was a popular question in my workshops. Whatever the result (the average was 5-7 responses) became a benchmark that participants tried to beat the next time they were Speed Thinking. This goal of trying to improve your own results in turn, created more energy, fun and importantly less critical analysis. www.thespeedthinkingzone.com
  14. 14. The other advantage of having a target of nine possibilities is that it encourages you to consider an array of left-field solutions. Most people are happy to create perhaps three ideas but when they are faced with the challenge of nine they are forced to use their imagination and offer up solutions that they might have initially considered unworkable. Instead these new thoughts might just be the clue to solving a problem in an original way. The basic mechanism of Speed Thinking is the combination of two minutes and nine possibilities. These two factors work in a synergistic way to enable you to accelerate your thinking. It provides a structure in which you can create, solve or decide at an express pace. Sports people often call this mindset, being ‘in the zone’ or the ideal performance state. It is the state of mind and body in which we perform at, or near to, our best. It is easily recognised in sport but is relevant to all areas of performance such as study, business and the performing arts. Speed Thinking enables you to enter your own high-performance zone at will, whenever you need to, either at work, home or study. www.thespeedthinkingzone.com
  15. 15. The 4-Step Speed Thinking Cycle START ACTION EVALUATE BUILD www.thespeedthinkingzone.com
  16. 16. The 4-Step Speed Thinking Cycle: Step One: Start With Speed Thinking the emphasis is on taking the first step—to ignore all the reasons not to act and just start. But this simple step is often the hardest. To start any new project can be both motivating and energising. It is also the first sign of innovation. Without someone starting something, somewhere, nothing ever happens and nothing ever changes. The aim with Speed Thinking is to just get going as quickly as you can. There is no right or wrong place to start. The only mistake a person can make is not starting. You can keep worrying, analysing or procrastinating or you can start. The important point at this stage is to continuously remind yourself that your aim is to create ideally nine different possibilities or initial thoughts. In the following stages these will be evaluated, built and then actioned. www.thespeedthinkingzone.com
  17. 17. Step Two: Evaluate After a range of potential solutions have been created the next step is to do a quick evaluation. The aim here is not to conduct a protracted and agonizing debate over the relative merits of each possibility but to simply evaluate these in two minutes. People are often amazed at how quickly they can evaluate when they are asked to do so in a short period of time. In a blur of activity they can form a coherent rationale for evaluating certain options high or low in literally minutes. I suspect that they can do this because they are using both their left and right side of their brain. Most people only use left brain considerations (e.g. will it save money) which can lead to procrastination as various financial analysis go back and forth. One powerful way of evaluating is to use what i have called the passion meter. In the evaluation process, after you have created a number of options ask yourself: how passionate do I feel about option one on a scale of 1-10? One being indifferent, ten being-you love the idea or solution. Then repeat for option two, three etc. It is important just to score the ideas and not to rank these at this stage. In two minutes you will have sorted the options according to passion. Go with the highest scoring ones. www.thespeedthinkingzone.com
  18. 18. Step Three: Build The third step in the Speed Thinking Cycle is to focus in on the highest evaluated option and then to try and make this initial idea or solution, nine times better. Ideas or solutions are never born perfect. They need to be built into bigger concepts. The ‘Start’ step gets your initial thoughts out. The ‘Evaluate’ step then takes these thoughts and tries to identify the ones with the most potential. The Build step tries to realise this potential by transforming a raw idea into a workable concept. As with all the steps, if the initial highest evaluated option does not work out as expected, you can go back in the cycle to the previous step and select another thought and work for two minutes on this. This step is most concerned with enhancing an initial thought and can be completed by an individual or with a partner. You might both do the start step individually and then complete the evaluate, build and action steps together. This process combines the magic of the individual with the strengths of working with others. The continued emphasis on speed maintains the sense of momentum and encourages participants to be more open to consider new ideas rather than slipping into a critical, judgmental role. www.thespeedthinkingzone.com
  19. 19. Step Four: Action The 4-step Speed Thinking Cycle is concerned with making something happen. It is not a clever, legal argument aimed at trapping an opponent nor is it concerned with following the rules of logic. The primary aim is to create a breakthrough idea, solve a problem or make a quality decision quickly. It makes sense therefore for the final step to be action oriented. This step is concerned with taking the workable concept or decision and bringing it to life. This step completes the loop from thought to action. It forces people to develop nine action steps they can take to bring the decision or workable concept to the market-place. The primary aim of this step is to transform a concept or potential solution into a tangible action. It could be to develop a prototype, build a business case, conduct some market research or obtain some funding etc. The emphasis always is on action. www.thespeedthinkingzone.com
  20. 20. Speed Links The third component of The Speed Thinking System is called Speed Links. It is a tool which mirrors the magical formula of nine responses in two minutes. Speed Links can be used to solve problems, brainstorm new ideas or solve problems. I have developed over 30 different uses but no doubt there are many more. It has been tested in various different situations across many different countries and it always helps people to think better, faster. The design of Speed Links consisting of nine outer thought bubbles and nine inner ones creates a visual template which encourages people to think in a non-linear, more imaginative way. As opposed to other thinking tools (e.g. MindMapping) there is an open connecting space in the middle of Speed Links which encourages you to make deliberate and random connections between your initial thoughts. With nine different pieces of information you can literally develop thousands of different combinations. Remember to write in brief notations. If you wanted to develop a new kids product you can just write ‘kids’ and your brain will ‘chunk’ all the relevant associations. www.thespeedthinkingzone.com
  21. 21. Date: Name: Challenge: IDEA #1 IDEA #9 IDEA #2 IDEA #8 IDEA #3 IDEA #7 IDEA #4 IDEA #6 IDEA #5 Starting Tip: If you are using Speed Links to Brainstorm ideas try and create nine new ideas in two minutes and place these in the inner circles. Then select a few at random and make the initial idea nine times better (around the outside circle). Now try and connect a few of the circles at random and see what new ideas emerge. www.thespeedthinkingzone.com
  22. 22. Why Speed Thinking Works 1. It Provides an intense focus We live in a short-attention span, multitask world. We all seem to be forever trying to do a number of things at once. Speed Thinking with it’s small time frame (i.e. two minutes) and challenging target (i.e. nine possibilities) tends to focus the mind wonderfully well on the specific task at hand. It is a paradox but to work faster we need to concentrate on one thing at a time. 2. You do not limit yourself. During my training programs on creative thinking I noticed that one of the biggest barriers for people was their own internal voice which constantly told them that they were not creative. Speed Thinking provides a simple solution to your often self- limiting internal voice. You are simply too busy to worry about what your voice is saying. You are more consumed with meeting the two minute challenge. 3. You do not worry about other people’s expectations In a similar vein, one of the biggest barriers to continued high performance is that we spend so much time worrying what others think of us. Speed Thinking bypasses your anxieties because you are too involved to worry about what they may or may not be thinking. Without these self-imposed limitations I have found that people are more original, authentic and can think and act without these suffocating, self-imposed limitations. www.thespeedthinkingzone.com
  23. 23. Why Speed Thinking Works 4. Operate at the edge of your unconscious. A reoccurring feature of Speed Thinking is how participants are sometimes surprised by some of their initial thoughts. They often say ‘I am not sure where this idea came from.’ Because of the speed at which they are operating, they cannot use their conscious mind nor logic or critical thinking. They have to rely on something else which I believe, is their unconscious. I believe that when we are Speed Thinking we operate at the ‘edge of our unconscious’. This is a dynamic space between our conscious and our unconscious. We are increasingly aware that our unconscious minds play a major, active role in our mental lives. 5. Creates a safe space to play, collaborate & improvise. Speed Thinking works particularly well in a group setting because it reduces internal filtering and external expectations, and creates a safe space for participants to play, collaborate and improvise. I have noticed that people are far more open to a new idea or solution than in a normal, more formal setting and feel better when they are Speed Thinking so there is an explosion of energy in the room and a sense of jointly exploring opportunities. www.thespeedthinkingzone.com