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Friday, October 16, 2009

Mental Process

Mental Process Paper
Julie Malone
University of Phoenix
OI 461 Innovation, Design, and Creativity for a Competitive Advantage
Brandon S. Smith
March 15, 2008

Abstract

When understanding the creative intelligence, they consist of four styles such as intuitive, innovative, imaginative, and inspirational. People can have one main style or share two with one dominant and the other submissive. Society is also offered five forces that influence the mental models/mind sets that include education, training, influence of others, rewards and incentives, and personal experiences.

Mental Process Paper

When examining both the four styles of creative intelligence and the five forces of mental models/mind sets, one can see the intense and in depth these concepts are to society, and yet how simple they can be viewed once understand. Following are descriptions and examples of each type of both creative intelligence and the five forces of mental model/mind sets. There is also information provided about my personal experience with dealing with the mental model/mindset in the workplace.

The Four Styles of Creative Intelligence

The four styles of creative intelligence include intuitive, innovative, imaginative, and inspirational. The first style of intuitive focuses on results and relies on past experience to guide actions and decisions. An organization can revitalize a stagnant company by focusing on action and results; it can be fair, but tough on competition. This philosophy can turn an organization into a highly successful and profitable business. Intuitive means bringing out creativity and potential and describes resourceful individuals and is typical of managers, actors, and politicians. It emphasizes on achievement, hard work, results, common sense, past experience, and the ability to find good answers quickly (Rowe, 2004). An example of an intuitive personality would be Mahatma (Mohandas) Gandhi considering his philosophy of civil disobedience and non-violence, as well as his personal spirituality, struck a deep chord with Indians and can best be understood as a logical outgrowth of this type.

The second style of innovative concentrates on problem-solving, inquisitive, persistence, experimentation, and careful analysis, systematic, relies on data, willing to work hard, and insist on precise and careful experiments. This style is typical of a scientist, engineer, or an inventor. One’s qualities are perseverance in the face of difficulties, can be absorbed in their work, and handles complexity with ease. Although the working environment often affects how people perform, truly creative people transcend physical discomfort and inconvenience to pursue their goals and visions (Rowe, 2004). An example of an innovative style person is Arthur Schnitzler. Mr. Schnitzler is one of Austria's literary heavyweights and received extensive training in medicine and was especially interested in psychology, an interest that influenced his writing a great deal.

The third style of imaginative is able to visualize and identify opportunities, artistic, take pleasure in writing, open-minded, risk-taker and thinks “out of the box.” This style describes insightful individuals and is typical of artists, musicians, writers, and leaders. Steven P. Jobs is an example of an imaginative style personality. Mr. Jobs is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive of The Apple Computer Inc. and brought digital technology to the world. As a visionary, he saw that computers could be more than just a plain productivity tool and they could help unleash human creativity and sheer enjoyment. A marketing genius, he conceived of elegant products that captured consumers' imaginations. Due to his relentless perfectionist, he came up with creations that actually delivered on their promise and raising the bar for rivals. A quarter-century later, he rocked the music business with Apple's iPod music player and iTunes online store. This created a blueprint for the music biz in the Net era. His Pixar Animation Studios was the first to show that computer animation could be used to tell imaginative, touching stories (Businessweek, 2008).

The final style is inspirational which focuses on social change, has a positive, act on instincts or feelings, action-oriented outlook on societal needs and is willing to give of self to achieve goals. This style is concerned with introducing change that helps others. This style describes visionary individuals and is typical of educators, leaders, and writers. Senator Barack Obama is an example of the inspiration style personality. This man is proving that he is capable of having the opportunity to becoming the first African-American to sit in the Oval Office as president of the nation where black slaves were once considered property. He gives people hope to take a chance to fulfill their dreams and desires and to look beyond color and ethnicity.

When comparing the four styles, the intuitive style responds quickly to operational problems, innovative individuals rely on a considerable amount of information and take time to study and gain insight into problems, imaginative style use value judgments as the basis for their decisions, and the inspirational style are concerned with the welfare of others rather than their own. In an emergency, the intuitive style makes good, quick decisions, but when it comes to understanding the far-reaching effects of certain problems, the imaginative style will generally be more effective. Although each of these styles describes a specific creative intelligence style, a majority of people have more than one creative style. The level of intensity for each style results in a guide for each individual. This approach to creativity expands the possible number of creative intelligence styles. The importance of having many styles of creativity is that one is able to more fully and accurately describe an individual’s creative intelligence (Rowe, 2004).

Five Forces Influence Mental Models/Mind sets

Along with having four styles of creative intelligence, we also have five forces that influence the mental models/mind sets. At first glance, mental models may seem intangible and insignificant; however, they cannot be dismissed as optical illusions, parlor games, academic curiosities, and all in the mind. These models affect the quality and direction of our lives and they have profit-and-loss and even life-and-death implications.

One of the most enduring and perhaps limiting illusions is the belief that the world seen is the real world. Individuals rarely question their own models of the world until forced to. One day, the television seemed attractive and full of information, the next day it was ugly and dramatic. The broadcasted information did not change and yet in one instant society saw it as a vital piece of informative and the next minute it was literally garbage. Society was hit with the “gestalt flip.” The lines and data points are the same, but the picture is dramatically different. Does one wonder what changed; the information did not, but how society currently viewed it did. The same information suddenly produced a very different perception. This perception is called “mental models” (or “mindsets”) and describes the brain processes that are used to make sense of the world (Wind et al., 2005).

In the past, science and technology have progressed to the point where scientists can observe the brain resulting in the transformation between philosophy and neuroscience. Instead of just thinking about thinking, scientists can now monitor brain processes as society thinks and observes. This research is generating an enormous amount of experimental data while confronting the incredible complexity of the brain, resulting in a range of neuroscience theories that has emerged to explain what is going on inside the brain. In business and other organizations, these interactions become even more complex as individuals with their own mental models interact through group decision-making or negotiation, and they are susceptible to biases such as “group think” that can limit flexibility and constrict options. The ways people make sense of the world are determined to a large extent by the internal mind and to a lesser extent by the external world. It is this internal world of neurons, synapses, neurochemicals and electrical activity, with its incredibly complex structure functioning in ways society have only a vague sense of that is called the “mental model.” This model inside the individual brains is the representation of our world and ourselves (Wind et al., 2005).

Mental models are broader than technological innovations or business models, and represent the way one looks at the world. These models or mindsets can sometimes be reflected in technology or business innovations, but not every minor innovation represents a truly new mental model. For example, the shift to non-hydrogenated butter was a tremendous innovation in the butter industry, but it represents only a minor change in mental models. Our mental models are much deeper, and often so deep that they are invisible. Mental models affect every aspect of an individual’s personal and professional lives, and our broader society including these five forces of education, training, influence of others, rewards and incentives, and personal experiences:

• Education: Education shapes people’s mental models very broadly and forms a foundation that molds the world view. A scientist learns to approach the world in a different way than an artist. This broad education is often the least visible force shaping the mindset. People surround themselves with people of similar background. A liberal arts education is intended to give people a common language and world view from which to operate and makes it easier for this educational foundation to blend into the environment for any type of career path.
• Training: Is a specific learning related to education in that people learn to deal with transitions or handle new tasks. A data entry person may learn keyboarding or a musician may learn a particular instrument. This training is more specific and visible than education, and can be easily transferred.
• Influence of others: Society can be influenced by mentors, experts, books, family and friends. These individuals, their philosophy of life, and approach to problems affect people deeply in how they approach personal challenges. For example, a child who constantly reads about Thomas Edison may grow up to be a scientist. Society is also influenced by the mass such as in the 1960’s with drugs and rock and roll. Society is can be influenced by the result of a transition in television shows such as American Idol. People watch singers from all walks of all perform and actually win a recording contract.
• Rewards and incentives: The mental models and actions are shaped by the rewards people receive for holding them in the hands. These rewards can be tangible such as direct financial gain like a raise, or less tangible ones, such as social approval.
• Personal experience: Some artists and scientists are self-taught since they create their own style through personal experience which makes it easier to think outside the box.
• The tradition of apprenticeship is also based on a process of combining learning from both experience and a mentor or expert craftsman. People also develop capabilities for learning how to learn that help them to make sense of our experiences such as past successes and failures which dramatically shape the view of the world. Severe traumatic ordeals such as prison or abuse may affect how a person views the world.
• Today’s experience quickly becomes tomorrow’s theology. Military leaders are often fighting the last war. They have shaped the policies based on past equipment and military strategy, carefully learning lessons from debriefings on the last battlefield that may no longer be relevant to the current one (Wind et al., 2005).

Although the above mental models/mind sets are wonderful individually, they might limit the decision-making process due to the fact that need to work together in order to be effective. Education alone in not an effective decision-making tool since an individual needs influenced through mentoring, rewarded, and personal experience to provide leadership and be a team player in any organization.

Personal Most Commonly Used Mental Models/Mind Sets

While working as a Help Desk Analyst, I utilize personal experience from the performing the job function for two years, observing, and analyzing what is successful and failure with the performance. By observing and analyzing data, I can make clear decisions on what strategy to take to perform the job to my best ability.

Conclusion

The above information and examples provided an examination of how the four styles of creative intelligence and the five forces of mental models/mind sets affected society in the thinking process.

References

Rowe, A.J. (2004). Creative Intelligence. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education publishing as Prentice-Hall.

Wind, Y., Crook, C., & Gunther, R. (2005). The Power of Impossible Thinking. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Wharton School Publishing.

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