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The Dialogic Learning Weekly #162

Welcome to this week's edition of the Dialogic Learning Weekly Newsletter. In today's issue I want to
The Dialogic Learning Weekly
The Dialogic Learning Weekly #162
By Tom Barrett • Issue #162 • View online
Welcome to this week’s edition of the Dialogic Learning Weekly Newsletter. In today’s issue I want to share some essential Design Thinking resources and tools with you. These concepts, mental models and activities have been part of my toolkit for many years.
I am happy to share them with you and encourage you to get in touch if I can explain more or recommend others.

Divergent + Convergent Thinking
You need to become familiar with this type of language when participating in complex problem solving. Divergent and Convergent thinking are the type of thinking modes (skills / dispositions) required during design thinking.
Your appreciation for the subtleties and nuances of how thinking changes will help you lead (and participate) more effectively.
Perhaps more importantly explore your awareness of enacting Divergent thinking and how to switch modes to Convergent thinking. Deepen your awareness and appreciation for what it takes to think in these different ways. That will help others.
Creativity and the second stage of innovation require different individual skills and team structures and processes. The idea generation stage is often referred to as divergent thinking or exploration. The implementation stage is often referred to as convergent thinking or exploitation. Unless you plan to have your team hand off its creative ideas, you will need to create a team that can operate in both modes, switching among them as appropriate.
The ebb and flow between divergent and convergent thinking
The Question Ladder
This is the first resource I share when I am supporting teams in their design thinking process. It provides a range of question starters and language that spans from simple to complex.
We often begin with this as it as wonderful tool to support any interviewing or dialogue sessions you are running, during the empathy phase of design thinking.
Perhaps you are trying to better understand a particular group of students or you are looking to design a survey - the Question Ladder might just scaffold a more effective question for you.
Question Ladder – Development Impact and You
Up and Down the Ladder of Abstraction
During a recent coaching session I was reintroduced to the Ladder of Inference, mental model. I remembered this older post (below) about the model and how we can use the Abstract / Concrete spectrum to help coach and support others.
But it also can be used to frame and re-frame a question during design thinking. I have been exploring many of these questions during a design thinking event this week in Melbourne and my critique would often move the question up or down the ladder, always seeking a good balance.
In design thinking we might call this Question Laddering - moving it up to be more abstract and generalised, or down to become more concrete and specific. A great technique and tool to explore in your next design session.
Up and Down the Ladder of Abstraction
Thanks for taking time to read the newsletter. Let me know what else I can help you with, just hit reply. See you next time.
~ Tom Barrett
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Tom Barrett

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