It's not the size that counts. In business, there is no point being really clever if it doesn't actually result in a meaningful action. Our education systems are overly geared towards building knowledge bases and not towards how to get things done.

I've been reading Edward De Bono's Thinking Course, a high level summary of a number of thinking tools. De Bono is interested in teaching people how to think and proposes a number of practical exercises to look at problems in a different way. He is probably most famous for originating the term lateral thinking.

One term that De Bono puts forward in this book is operacy. By this he means, the thinking skills used in actually 'doing' something. Operational numeracy = oper-acy. Education could be summed up as gathering so much information that the reqired action is then automatically suggested. But the ability to get something done involves more than this: setting objectives; applying strategies and tactics; appreciating courses of action; planning. In business, a Developer may be highly intelligent, but if this intelligence doesn't produce the desired results (i.e. actions that ultimately end in profit) then that power is being wasted. In schools we don't seem to be taught the skills of being effective, just the skills of information building and retention.

My conclusion: Operacy is a skill like any other and can be learned. Everyone can learn to be more effective.


It's All In The Game blog (c) 2005-16 by Jez Nicholson