Posts Tagged ‘Thought plotting’

My brother came across a great analogy the other day in response to the crowds who are calling the iPad nothing more than a big iPod Touch: The iPad is as much a big iPod Touch as a swimming pool is a big bath.

Sure, it’s funny. But it’s actually quite a useful analogy to unpack the mindset behind some of the iPad’s dissenters. So let’s interrogate it a little. What is wrong with calling a swimming pool a big bath? What do we fail to see if we think of a swimming pool as a big bath? The answer is that we fail to see what becomes possible to us in a swimming pool.

Many critics are asking the question, “What does the iPad replace?” In doing so, they are assuming that the iPad is an oversize iPod Touch or an underpowered laptop and so they fail to see what the iPad makes possible.

So just what does the iPad make possible? Well, if the bath and swimming pool analogy can give us a clue, then we can probably expect a categorical difference in use between an iPod Touch and an iPad. After all, cleaning yourself in a bath is categorically different from exercising in a swimming pool. But then perhaps at this point, applying the analogy starts to be more facetious than useful, so I’ll just answer the question directly. The iPad creates a user experience that is closer to our natural behavior than anything before it. And that means it will usher in an era of technology that will reach deeper and further into our lives than anything before it. Put simply, the iPad makes it possible for people to harness the power of a computer with significantly less effort, leaving their minds free to do whatever it is they’re good at.

The chances are that if you’re reading this blog post, you’re not the kind of person who will benefit most from using an iPad. Even as I write this, I’m looking at a WordPress interface that many people I know would find intimidating. Alienating even. Not just the screen, but the entire device puts a distance between them and what they want to get done. The iPad narrows the gap.

So what questions should we be asking? If not, “What does the iPad replace?” then what? How about:

  • Where will the iPad be used where other devices are cumbersome?
  • Who might benefit from the iPad’s ability to deliver expert guidance in real time in the field?
  • What study processes could the iPad simplify for students?
  • How could a meeting be improved if the attendees all used iPads?

To all the developers who have turned their minds to asking questions like these, I commend you! To all those wondering what the iPad will replace, I implore you to challenge your assumptions and ask more interesting questions.


When he was 16 years old, Albert Einstein asked a curious question: “What would it be like to ride on a beam of light?” He said it took him ten years to fully understand what it meant. By the time he was able to answer it completely, he had described his special theory of relativity and formulated the most famous equation in physics: Emc2. Not bad for a question that most teachers would shake their heads and roll their eyeballs at, no?

Now imagine that you could retrace all the questions that led to a great idea. Imagine starting at the end and working backwards. Having plotted each insightful question at each turning point along the route, you would have more than just the directions to a single destination. You would have a set of useful conceptual tools that you could apply to any number of new challenges. This is what we call thought plotting.

Thought plotting is at the very centre of Cognician. It’s the idea on which Cognician builds its foundations. Because Cognician is based on the principle that if you want to think and act like a genius, you must learn to question like a genius. But genius is perhaps too strong a word. Because the world doesn’t need more geniuses. What it needs is people who can use ideas with the same skill and efficiency that they use tools.

In this blog, we’ll show you how you can use the principles of thought plotting to identify the ideas behind the deeds of entrepreneurs, politicians, artists and scientists. We’ll show you how you can use thought plotting to get to the bottom of social issues. We’ll show you how you can use thought plotting to understand creativity, innovation and business. In short, we’ll show you how you can use thought plotting to harness the power of ideas and make them work for you.