Whole Brain Thinking by Edison

Idea Connection has an interesting quote from a conversation with Sarah Miller Caldicott, author of “Innovate Like Edison: The Five-Step System for Breakthrough Business Success.”

Sarah Miller Caldicott may be the great grandniece of Thomas Edison, but she relied on more than simply family anecdotes to write her book, Innovate Like Edison. She delved into all things Edison with Dr. Paul Israel, the director of the Edison Papers at Rutgers University, who presides over an archive 5 million pages deep.

When asked what tools Edison used, here is her reply:

“What intrigued me when I started studying Edison was, what techniques is he using to come up all these robust ideas? He’s manufacturing stuff and marketing stuff, but he still keeps asking questions. How does he keep figuring out the questions to ask? How does he know what to look at next, to see into the future and see what’s possible?

The answer is, he used whole-brain thinking techniques. It wasn’t even a concept back then. But he did realize there were different parts of the thinking process – there was a data-oriented part and another part that was about the big picture, patterns, concepts and linkages. So he used tactics to bring those two ways of thinking together.

For example, he worked with analogies. He’d compare disparate things that were like each other, to make connections. He might think, “OK, I’m learning about electricity, and I don’t know much about that. But I know a lot about telegraphy. So how is electricity like telegraphy?”

Whole brain thinking, of course, IS a concept right now. You can learn more.