Monday, September 7, 2015

Are you an Analog or a Digital Thinker?

From a management psychology perspective: the analogy to digital thinking shift is about transforming thinking from linear to nonlinear, from binary to Systems Thinking.

The analogy to digital conversion is an industrial evolution to change our daily life significantly. Analog-to-digital conversion is an electronic process in which a continuously variable (analog) signal is changed, without altering its essential content, into a multi-level (digital) signal. Digital signals propagate more efficiently than analog signals, largely because digital impulses, which are well-defined and orderly, are easier for electronic circuits to distinguish from noise, which is chaotic. This is the chief advantage of digital modes in communications. Computers "talk" and "think" in terms of digital data; while a microprocessor can analyze analog data, it must be converted into digital form for the computer to make sense of it. Analog is still a machine concept, it is the capturing of signals from the environment and the spectrums that have been cut into the plastic. ( To expand the lenses from the technical perspective to the management viewpoint, what're the difference between analog thinking and digital thinking though?

From technology advancement perspective, the "Digital Thinker" thinks much toward capturing the natural analog world around us and recreating it in digital form. Analog is either a noun or an adjective. It means "thing seen as comparable to another" or "relating to or using signals or information represented by a continuously variable physical quantity such as spatial position, voltage." From the Greek, it means "proportionate." Human beings have been designing machines & tools for 6000 years, perhaps much longer. Archimedes designed water screws and there were automatic door openers over 2000 years ago. So the argument can be made that there is analog thinking (the machine signals), just as there is digital thinking; one has to re-orient or change their thinking when selecting or deselecting systems. Since we are talking about both types of systems, there are many more that have been in use for a lot longer span of time. So analog is a form of capturing spectra via machines. It can be sound, light, heat, etc. how we as being ( not machine capturing) interpret these spectra is still a mystery. We still capture spectra via the old way in machines just convert that to digital using digital converters.

From a management psychology perspective: the analogy to digital thinking shift is about transforming thinking from linear to nonlinear, from binary thinking to Systems Thinking. Analogy thinking is analogized as a type of binary thinking, just like the analog signals: 0, 1. A binary thinker is often embracing the two opposite sides of viewpoint, and take the two-dimensional lenses to perceive the multi-faceted world, they perceive things either good or bad, right or wrong, black or white, there are no shades in between; such extreme thinking can limit your view to observe the world more objectively; distort the picture of reality, restrict the scope of your thought process, and cloud your mind to make good judgment either in decision making or problem solving. The leaders or business professionals with binary thinking are resistant to listen to the diverse viewpoint; have no intention to understand the other side of the coin; push the people to take the side, many times, they become the part of problems which they try to solve. In order to adapt to the new digital way, they need to adopt digital thinking, to increase their cognitive agility and cultivate empathy by exploring alternative viewpoints and cross-disciplinary interpretations.

From a talent management perspective, the digital minds are a full set of thinking processes that go beyond the analog signals, and embrace the full spectrum of colors (the different thought processes): from creative thinking to Agile critical thinking; from Systems Thinking to paradoxical thinking; from multidimensional thinking to hybrid thinking, etc. It’s the condensed human intelligence to adapt to the complexity of the world, see things differently, understand things profoundly; learn things via a holistic view and manage things and people via wisdom.


This Sentence above does not make sense to me: Analogy thinking is analogized as a type of binary thinking, just like the analog signals: 0, 1.
As I interpret the topic, if you think "analoge", you are able to detect all the fine nuances and shades between 2 digital point of views. When thinking analog, there are not steps between A and B, between 0 and 1. There is a level-changing-line with an infinity of level changes...

Amazing, so there's digital thinker and analog thinker. I think analog always an old thinker and digital thinker is futurism thinker.
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Loved your article. Digital thinker has more needs these days.

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The idea is well received and clear: be flexible, agile, armed with emotional IQ, have holistic view of things and don't try to tag people or processes around you as good or bad. Yet, the labeling of people to "analog" and "digital" - this itself is "analog" and probably is not a best buzzword to convey the message.

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