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Case Studies

IBM Chief Scientist Uses Six Thinking Hats to Help Develop Chip that Mimics Human Brain

Featured in a Fortune Magazine Article: The New Team Work (4/28/14)

IBM Chief Scientist Uses Six Thinking Hats as a Collaboration Tool to Develop a Chip that Mimics the Human Brain

Many teams are global. Working collaboratively together to solve tough challenges is very hard to do. It can be done. The issue of Fortune Magazine (04/28/14) highlights the approach taken by IBM Fellow and chief scientist Dharmendra Modha in an article titled "The New Teamwork: Collaboration has Never Been More Crucial in Business."

The Project: Develop a chip that would mimic the human brain.

The Challenge: Corral an unwieldy team of more than 200 of the brightest scientists at eight different IBM labs, two government laboratories, and five university campuses with diverse areas of expertise.

The Result: Modha's team successfully demonstrated a brain-inspired chip architecture.

The Method: The journalist describes it this way, "An old school organizational technique, Six Thinking Hats, not software saved the day."  
Success tips for you:

  1. When you're leading a project team, select a process and tools for the team to use. Ensure each team member understands each process step and is competent using the tools. This approach facilitates effective collaboration, communication, and creativity.
  2. Your job depends on the unique insights you bring to your work, your team, your colleagues, and your customers.  People want to know what you think. Thinking drives the future. Your thinking toolkit needs to be robust. If you're missing some thinking tools, it's time to skill-up.
  3. Resist getting caught up in the "technology trap." Sometimes productive thinking will do the trick; after all, your brain is always with you.
  4. If you need to be more collaborative, select processes and tools that will help you group gang up on the challenge instead of ganging up on each other.

LIFT your thinking ... until next time

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