Augmented Thinking: The New Convergence of Art, Technology, and Science with Professor Julio Ottino

We live in an age of increasing complexity and uncertainty. We live in a time when humanity faces extremely complex challenges. Our ability, or lack thereof, to create solutions to such extremely complicated challenges may determine our long-term survival as a civilization. The question is: is our existing style of thinking adequate, or do we require a new style of thinking in order to innovate and lead into the future. In their recent book Julio Ottino and Bruce Mau make a case for “The Nexus”, a radically new way of thinking — one in which art, technology, and science converge to expand our creativity and augment our insight. In this episode or Bridging the Gaps I speak with Julio Ottino who explains “the Nexus” and guides us how to embrace the powerful idea of complementarity, where opposing extremes coexist. We discuss how blurring the lines between the three major realms of human creation — art, technology, and science — results in a significant expansion of thinking spaces and a richness of potential ideas.

Julio Ottino is Dean of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and a professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Northwestern University, in Illinois. He is also the founding co-director of Northwestern University’s Institute on Complex Systems. He is a thought leader, author, artist, and internationally recognized researcher in chaos theory and complex systems whose work has been featured in “Nature”, “Science”, and “Scientific American”.

We begin our discussion by looking back at the time before the divergence of disciplines and how key figures in science immensely benefited from talents and skills in a variety of fields. Then we talk about how, when, and why the disciplines diverged. We delve into the concept of “the Nexus” and discuss whole-brain thinking. The book is jam-packed with wonderful photographs and diagrams. I ask Professor Ottino to describe the process that he followed to write this book. This has been a wonderful discussion.

Complement this discussion with Asking Better Questions for Creative Problem Solving, Innovation and Effective Leadership with Hal Gregersen and with “Learning How to Learn”: Techniques to Help You Learn with Dr Barbra Oakley and then listen to Multiple Intelligences, Future Minds and Educating The App Generation: A discussion with Dr Howard Gardner

By |June 27th, 2022|Knowledge, Podcasts, Research, Technology|

“The Joy of Science” with Professor Jim Al-Khalili

Can living scientifically empower us to navigate the complexities of today’s complex and unpredictable world? Can the joy of critical thinking and the effectiveness of the scientific method assist us in making better decisions? Can living a more rational life help us navigate modern life more confidently? In his new book “The Joy of Science” acclaimed physicist Jim Al-Khalili invites readers to engage with the world as scientists have been trained to do. He shows how the fundamental principles at the heart of scientific thinking, as well as the scientific process, are profoundly relevant to the perplexing times we live in and the tough choices we make. In this episode of Bridging the Gaps, I speak with professor Jim Al-Khalili and we thoroughly discuss very interesting and deeply intriguing ideas that he presents in this book.

Professor Jim Al-Khalili is a theoretical physicist at the University of Surrey where he holds a Distinguished Chair in physics as well as a university chair in the public engagement in science. He is a prominent author, broadcaster and one of Britain’s best-known science communicators.

I start our discussion with the question that how the discipline of science should be perceived. We acknowledge that there are many ways scientific work is carried out in many different disciplines. We discuss the issue of “relative truth” and how biases held by individuals impact their opinions and distort their view and lead them to their own version of truth. We explore how science deals with the issue of relative truth. We probe how the scientific method enables us to continue researching in the presence of uncertainty. We investigate the impact of misinformation and disinformation on the disciple and cause of science. We also touch upon how rational humans can become; can we think rationally only up to certain point. We discuss in detail how scientific information should be presented to policy makers that should enable and empower them to make better decisions and to make the right choices. Finally, I ask Professor Jim Al-Khalili to tell us about his research in the field of open quantum systems. This has been a fantastic discussion.

Complement this with Asking Better Questions for Creative Problem Solving, Innovation and Effective Leadership with Hal Gregersen and then listen to On Public Communication of Science and Technology with Professor Bruce Lewenstein

By |May 13th, 2022|Biology, Future, Information, Knowledge, Physics, Podcasts, Research, Technology|

Asking Better Questions for Creative Problem Solving, Innovation and Effective Leadership with Hal Gregersen

Questions are the Answers discussed at Bridging the Gaps

Every problem or issue raises new questions, which must be correctly answered in order to address the problem or resolve the issue. What if we could get a better answer to our most troublesome problem—at work or at home—just by altering the question? If asking right questions is essential for creative problem solving and innovation, and for effective leadership, shouldn’t we know more about how to arrive at right questions? In his book “Questions Are the Answer: A Breakthrough Approach to Your Most Vexing Problems at Work and in Life” Hal Gregersen gives many examples of people who had used questions in specific ways to solve problems. He gives many examples of how managers have used questioning in a variety of ways to obtain better results and provides additional information sources on key topics for those who want to dig deeper. In this episode of Bridging the Gaps I speak with Hal Gregersen.

Hal Gregersen is a senior lecturer in leadership and innovation at MIT Sloan School of Management. He is a former executive director of the MIT Leadership Center and a cofounder of the Innovator’s DNA consulting group. He is a prolific author and a motivational speaker, and has helped leaders around the world to create cultures of fearless inquiry and to transform their organizations into innovative powerhouses. He is one of the authors of “The Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators” a book cited by managers, creative problem-solvers and leaders around the world as a highly recommended read for anyone interested in innovation.

I open the discussion by asking Hal Gregersen about the evolving and ever changing landscape of leadership. We then discuss catalytic and recursive questions. How to learn to ask the right questions is essential for creative problem solving; we discuss this.

Innovator's DNA discussed at Bridging the Gaps

Although the primary focus of this discussion is on Gregersen’s book “Questions are Answer: A Breakthrough Approach to Your Most Vexing Problems at Work and in Life”, we do touch upon the book that he co-authored “The innovator’s DNA: Mastering the five skills of disruptive innovators”. I ask him to outline, compare and rate these five skills of disruptive innovators. We then discuss how leadership should evolve in this age of “working from home”. Finally I ask him for tips and suggestions for our young listeners and for future leaders; what skills they should acquire so that they are ready to meet future challenges. This has been a fascinating and highly informative discussion.

Complement this discussion with Growth Mindset: A Must Have Tool for Success with Professor Carol Dweck and then listen to Multiple Intelligences, Future Minds and Educating The App Generation: A discussion with Dr Howard Gardner

By |February 27th, 2022|Future, Knowledge, Podcasts|