We, human species are impeccable creators.
We create our own thoughts, our will, our emotions, our perception and our imaginations. We are our MINDS. No doubt Winston Churchill stated in his speech at Harvard University in 1943, "The empires of the future are the empires of the mind." Sprint forward 60 years or so and a similar sentiment is echoed in the writings of Howard Gardner from Harvard Graduate School of Education. In his book, 5 Minds for the Future, Gardner ponders about the human mind. He says the world of tomorrow, "with its ubiquitous search engines, robots and other computational devices, will demand capacities that until now have been mere options."
To meet this new frontier, we must develop a global mind that is comprehensive, yet all encompassing. In his book he provides us with a road map that guides us in developing our 5 minds.
The disciplined mind has mastered one skill set or craft. The disciplined mind understands the intellectual rigor that goes into continuous improvement of one's profession. For example, an product designer should be in tune with the classic proportions such as golden section, golden mean and root rectangles, ratios and proportions, interrelationships of forms and regulating lines.
The synthesizing mind collects information from diverse sources, understands the information with an open mind and synthesizes it in a way that makes sense to everyone. Taking the example of an product designer who has been tasked to design a potato peeler (a mundane tool): he will understand the dynamics of color, the challenges of packaging, the texture and the plasticity of the material that will be used to produce his potato peeler.
The creating mind builds on discipline and systhesis to break new turfs. The creating mind will conjure up global ways of thinking and arrive at unchartertered territories. In our case: the creating mind will address the location of manufacturing and will mandate the usage of material that is native to that area, to come up with a design (perhaps a folding potato peeler) that cost less to ship and package, providing more value to the brand and ultimately to the end user.
The respectful mind notes and welcomes the differences among human individuals and groups, tries to understand it and works through it. Again, reeling back to our example of potato peeler: perhaps the shipping was set on a certain date. Can't be done due to some religious holiday. The respectful mind accepts it, will learn about the culture and conceivably will use this new knowledge in the new version of the design. The result might look something like a combination of a peeler and a knife.
The ethical mind contemplates the nature of one's work and the needs of the society, the planet that one lives in. This mind is unselfish and thinks for the betterment of all. The ethical mind always ask, "What kind of a world would I like to live in? What is my responsibility in bringing such a world into being?"
This book was an incredible excursion in technology, economics and geopolitics. It has taught me to explore opportunity in midst of expansive diversity.
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Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly. Franz Kafka