The beauty of thinking
The Thinking Environment was originally conceived by Nancy Kline, Time to Think, who observed that ‘the quality of everything that we do depends on the quality of the thinking that we do first’. Thinking matters – it precedes, runs through and impacts on the things that matter most – our lives, families, friendships and relationships, our work and endeavours, the way we are with the world. It shapes the decisions we make and the things we surround ourselves with – ultimately, it creates our happiness.
If we want to make good decisions, solve problems creatively, innovate, communicate well, have good relationships, mediate our way through challenging situations, think about how we can solve our own problems as well as those facing the world, we need to think well individually and in groups.
To create lives we love; organisations in which people can thrive, and a world that we feel happy to leave for our children’s children, the question then becomes ‘how do we help ourselves and others to truly think for themselves?
The answer is by creating a healthy thinking environment; by influencing or creating the conditions for sound thinking.
The thinking environment is the most effective, simple way I have yet discovered which allows every person to think for themselves as well as for groups of people to come together and think creatively, solve problems effectively and share knowledge respectfully. The effect of that is hugely empowering, individually and collectively. It makes good things happen, and it’s why The Thinking Project exists.
Ten behaviours that change everything
After years of research and observation, Nancy Kline, founder of the Thinking Environment and President of Time To Think Inc, together with her associates, recognised that people generate their best thinking if the people around them behave in ten specific ways.
These behaviours are called the Ten Components of a Thinking Environment®. When they are present, people not only think for themselves but remove the assumptions that stop them from taking action.
Each component is valuable individually; but it is the system of all ten components working simultaneously that gives this process its transformative impact. Those ten components, and the notion of the thinking environment sit at the heart of The Thinking Project and the work we do.