The Three Essential Properties of the Engineering Mind-Set
"The core of the engineering mind-set is what I call modular systems thinking. It’s not a singular talent, but a melange of techniques and principles. Systems-level thinking is more than just being systematic; rather, it’s about the understanding that in the ebb and flow of life, nothing is stationary and everything is linked. The relationships among the modules of a system give rise to a whole that cannot be understood by analyzing its constituent parts."
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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:
It means to be able to break down a big system into its sections and putting it back together. The target is to identify the strong and weak links: how the sections work, don’t work, or could potentially work and applying this knowledge to engineer useful outcomes.
There is no engineering method, so modular systems thinking varies with contexts.
SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:
“Technological progress requires above all tolerance toward the unfamiliar and the eccentric.”
“Invention occurs at the level of the individual, and we should address the factors that determine individual creativity. Individuals, however, do not live in a vacuum. What makes them implement, improve and adapt new technologies, or just devise small improvements in the way they carry out their daily work depends on the institutions and the attitudes around them.”
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While looking for solutions and answers, we find that an individual provides a different answer than a group of people. Wisdom of the crowd is often considered better, as an individual might be bia...
Multiple brains work well when the answer is a simple numerical figure or fact, and the question is not coming from the collective intelligence themselves. It helps when the input mechanism posing the problem to the collective intelligence has strict quality control.
Individuals, when given substantial powers, start to achieve ‘optimal stupidity’, especially when they are not held accountable for the results and consequences.
Scientific communities make good use of the peer-review process (individuals checking each other) to achieve quality on the basis of a meritocracy.
No mechanism is fool-proof, with bad reporting, incompetency and self-delusion among many individual contributors diminishing the quality of the solutions.
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A few months ago, the world seemed reliable, but now it is changing so fast and has so many unknown dimensions, it can be hard to try and keep up.
Mental models can help us understand the wo...
Compounding is exponential growth. We tend to see the immediate linear relationships in the situation, e.g., how one test diagnoses one person.
The compounding effect of that relationship means that increased testing can lead to an exponential decrease in disease transmission because one infected person can infect more than just one person.
In the absence of enough testing, we need to use probabilistic thinking to make decisions on what actions to take. Reasonable probability will impact your approach to physical distancing if you estimate the likelihood of transmission as being three people out of ten instead of one person out of one thousand.
When you have to make decisions with incomplete information, use inversion: Look at the problem backward. Ask yourself what you could do to make things worse, then avoid doing those things.
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