Mental Model Monday.

     In working with Bridges out of Poverty the use of mental models to aid understanding and spark conversations is a highly useful tool. While the quote from Napoleon "A picture is worth a thousand words" doesn't strike me as a great source of reliable research, ongoing cognitive studies find that to be true.
     One only needs to read Presentation Zen or Brain Rules to understand the importance of graphics and charts in aiding understanding.  I continue to be astounded when seeing PowerPoint presentations where the speaker has created slides so inundated with words that the message gets lost. Participants can't really listen to the host and read the words on the screen at the same time and focus becomes lost.
    The graphic above comes from Educhoas, a flexible learning community in Australia.  Read more about Dr. Medina's book at Living Brain Rules, a post from last year. The next time you're struggling with a concept or opportunity, I suggest instead of just reading and writing, you journey map, draw a picture or create a mental model instead and see what happens.
    There's some great work by Dr. Roger Martin at the Rotman School of Management on Design Thinking.  A tremendous tools collection comes from Jeanne Liedtka and Tim Ogilvie in Designing for Growth - and the video below is from Tim Brown at Ideo. Creating a better future than the one confronting humanity today requires some different mental models. 

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