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New information technologies open up new possibilities for "thinking tools" --- such as better user interfaces, graphical ways to explore overwhelming data sets, or modeling techniques used to develop new scenarios. Thinking tools could also involve frameworks for sharing information among colleagues, systems for capturing the logic behind decisions, or structures to hold years of situational expertise from experts who are about to retire. Many thinking tools could be built upon foundations of mathematical logic, statistics, information retrieval systems, or webs of knowledge.

Individual thinking tools, however, are of limited value if each lives in its own isolated universe. The most productive and significant tools must exist together in thinking environments --- societies within which many tools can work harmoniously, sharing information and multiplying each other's effectiveness. Another way to describe the ideal situation is that we want to have thinking toolkits --- portfolios of techniques and systems that can be applied as needed during our work.

What are the common characteristics of the best thinking tools and environments? Doubtless there are many; some strong possibilities include:

A winning environment for thinking tools will tend to be:

Wednesday, April 07, 1999 at 06:12:19 (EDT) = Datetag19990407

TopicThinking - TopicProgramming

(correlates: SeeingAndForgetting, ThinkingToolsExamples, CraftsmanShip, ...)