Many people wish to join a Think Tank and several seek them out Online and yet so many are afraid that they may not qualify. This fear is indeed justified, as it takes a special person and specific qualities to be a worthy participant in a Think Tank, but one should remember that getting accepted into a Think Tank online, well that is the easy part.
The most difficult part of being in a Think Tank whether it is online or off-Line is the rigorous information flow and the ability to separate the non-sense from the diamonds in the rough. The Online Think Tank studied several concepts this week and scoured through newspapers, online ezines, trade journals, books and relevant discussions, all to find bits and pieces or clues needed to solve problems.
Each Think Tank attempts to provide solutions to challenges, which face mankind at the local,
regional, national or international level, many work hard to prevent hardships well in advance of the actual events that signify an actual problem. For instance below are listed just some of the things we considered over a 7-day period;
Sociology — does one need a degree in sociology to understand a society? If one is immersed in a society as a citizen and lives in that society, wouldn’t they know that society? Sociologists will tell you that merely living in a society is not the same as being a sociologist. Sociologists use data, collect research and statistically prove their theories. This of course can be done by a citizen through observation, however, experience and observation contains two major problems, one is perspective in the other is limited observation, which excuse the results.
The Shoe Shaft — since Americans are wearing shoes, which have been made in China at extremely low costs, are Americans hurting their feet; for instance, a shoe, which is made for a total of two dollars, does not have the same craftsmanship or specialty design as let’s say, New Balance shoes with width size options. The shoes that you buy for $15 at Wal-Mart are not the same as the athletic shoes that you pay nearly $100 for made by New Balance. Your feet are a very important part of your body, and each part of your foot corresponds to a different part of your upper body and poor shoes can cause back problems.
Avatar Date Rape — these issues are not funny anymore and things are happening in Second Life the virtual-reality online game that are showing some of the worst behavior of mankind and it is out in the open. There are now terrorists in Second Life, hate crimes, and even no smoking laws. It seems that things in second life must be studied to show the innate characteristics of mankind, both good and evil.
PAVs Or Personal Air Vehicles — the military is spending money on personal air vehicles and send these technologies will be passed down into the private sector. New Materials are making PAVs possible. One new company Terrafugia, Inc. has a roadable aircraft, that can fly under its own power and yet if they continue to develop these new technologies, will FAA or DOT regulations prevent folks from ever realizing the Flying Automobile?
New Ways to Think — futurist Michael Michalko discusses a different way of looking at things and gives us a new strategy on thinking, and yet tells us it is not a strategy at all, rather a free-flowing type of thinking. He tells us not to look for that needle in a haystack, but to look for all needles, as Einstein once said or use the Sapre Vedere, that Leonardo da Vinci recommended — approach different things from different perspectives and directions. Of course, if we are to train people to do this. We need to change the way we teach people do think.
Richard Faynman discussed productive thinking versus reproductive thinking. One of the tests that new engineering students are given when they get to MIT, is that they are asked, how many things can you do with a lead pencil and they have to answer this in 10 minutes, any reasonable use of a lead pencil is except it no matter what the cost. Another cast might be to think of how many ways can you skin a cat in the same 10 minutes. When this test is given, they found that the earliest ideas are less of value than the later ones. Perhaps we need to reconsider the random rogue waves of thought and apply these to a new type of thinking?
RFID – RTLS — Real-Time Locator Systems. Stephen Halliday with High Tech Aid, Inc. has discussed beacon tags that can broadcast through triangulation between other tags and interrogators in a net centric positioning system. Will this be the next new thing in RFID tags? It makes sense to use such a system for cargo containers that are all on the same ship, to protect us from a nuclear device being imported to our country, it also makes perfect sense for locating items which are lost in a large warehouse because they are not in the proper place. Since over $1 trillion worth of products, which are thought to be lost in the distribution system. RFID RTLS might be the answer.
“Managing Team Performance — evaluation, management, a reward.” By Saratoga Institute. This book, described setting up structures and delegating win building special-teams for a corporation or organization. It talked about providing training, support, decision-making, and pay for performance and although this book was written in 1997, it supports all the latest findings on intellectual capital and organizational capital in a corporation, nonprofit group, government agency or military team. Just because you put together a team does not mean it will be efficient; it could easily turn into a bureaucratic process, such as a committee, where not much gets done besides creating a mission statement. For those that wish to set up special teams. This information is good today as it was in 1977.
“Basic Masonry Illustrated” by Sunset Magazine Books. This book disgusts designing and building with block, brick and concrete to create the proper aesthetics in gardens, patios, chimneys, interior features, retaining walls and walk ways. It seems as though certain patterns of brick and block are stronger in certain types of situations and perhaps we should be thinking here win building add-ons or additions so that they can withstand Mother Nature, for instance; Earthquakes, Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Tsunanis, Floods or wildfires. If everything is made to be decorative, without considering the various forces that will or might be placed upon it in the future, then all we have done is built a beautiful wall on a terrible foundation, and it will crumble in fall.
“Interviewing More Than Just a Gut Feeling.” By Richard S. Deems, Ph.D. In the past, human resource professionals have concentrated mostly on intuition in order to hire the best potential candidates, unfortunately, this will no longer work with all the rules and regulations and laws or threat of lawsuits to the modern corporation. There are just certain things that you are not allowed to ask a potential employee and it takes a little bit of art, a little bit of skill, and careful practice to use the right words in order to do the job right. The Online Think Tank asks; are we throwing common sense out the window in order to use political correctness, which is often too difficult to help in finding the perfect candidate for the job and in doing so are we actually hurting the future of the company, nonprofit or government agency that is doing the hiring, and if so, shouldn’t we remove some of these laws that are creating an efficient cease and dire consequences down the road?
“Management of the Absurd — paradoxes in leadership.” By Richard Farson. This book was quite excellent, and should be read by everyone, who is in any leadership position, if nothing more than to help one have a sense of humor, and come back down to earth in order to do their job more efficiently. Some of the most interesting quotes in the book included;
“The better things are the worse they feel.”
“Once you find the management technique that works give that up.”
“Big changes are often easier to make than small ones.”
“The more we communicate, the less we communicate.”
“Nothing is as invisible as the obvious”
“Effective managers are not in control.”
“Organizations that need help the most will benefit least from that help.”
“People do not learn from their mistakes only their successes.”
“Groups learn from success, individuals learn from failure.”
In reading this book, it seems that Richard Farson seems to indicate that thinking or reasoning, or even common sense often loses out to; “how-to formulas.” If you let your organization, you may see the same thing, and it appears he is right.
We hear a lot about quality control, six Sigma, zero defect, ISO 9000, TQM, quality circles, Paradigm shift and reengineering the Corporation in yet these are only buzzwords; after all, you can call anything you have anything you want, you can even put lipstick on a pay if that is your desire; it’s still a pig. Think on that. A couple of other good quotes I would like to leave you with that we also found in the book;
“Son, I already know how to be twice as good a farmer as I am.”
“The reason decisions take so long is that they do not matter.”
Of course, these quotes open up a totally new discussion and they kept our Online Think Tank busy for hours. Perhaps Richard Farson should be accepted to our Online Think Tank; he seems to get the picture. What do you think? Let us know.