The Synthesizing Mind

Two significant things attracted me to buy Howard Gardner’s book ‘5 Minds for the Future’ – first, it’s about the future (myself being a bit of a future & trends enthusiast) and two, The Synthesizing Mind (myself being a big-picture thinking enthusiast as well). According to Howard Gardner, there are 5 minds or ways of thinking that we need to master to be able to cope in the future i.e.: 1) Disciplined, 2) Synthesizing, 3) Creating, 4) Respectful, 5) Ethical.

So I am particularly interested in the Synthesizing Mind as looking back, much of the work I had done in the last 5 years was a sort of synthesis – putting different pieces together into meaningful collections i.e., slowly building a diagram of the different systems in operation. Without sophisticated tools, information was tedious to collect, taxing to sift through and equally onerous to prepare into a presentable format. But it was something I found rewarding especially when some of the pieces came together and I could see clumps forming here and there. And it was not simply an academic exercise – the overarching goal was to streamline the architecture and eliminate systemic errors and performance problems. I juggled this with my other role as Project Manager – possibly the polar opposite of the Solution Designer role! I often had to shift from one thinking mode to the other – from the deep thinking ‘Design’ zone to the fire fighting ‘Project Management’ zone and vice versa.

I also recall synthesis being mentioned in the Enterprise Architecture (EA) certification course I completed last year – that ‘Architecting is a synthesis of form and is holistic’ as opposed to ‘Engineering which is an analysis of function and is reductionist.’ In this way, this book or particularly the chapter on The Synthesizing Mind is relevant to EA and coherency enthusiasts.

Howard Gardner is a professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.


Posted by rochelleolviga

  1. May 9th, 2010

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