From the above we can say that every professional practice coalesces around a mindflow and a resulting default pattern in looking at the world - a mindset. Clearly other personal characteristics come into play, such as the qualities of being humorous and
Source: Charles Landry confident, willing to listen or being pleasant. For this reason it is not possible to say 'every engineer or doctor is like this'. It is possible, though, to argue that each profession has a tendency, proclivity or bias to look at issues in a certain way. From these ways of looking, processes, procedures, techniques and practices, specific technologies or traditions emerge and develop. Indeed it is this focus that generates the advances in each discipline that we would not want to do without. Once a set pattern has emerged this becomes reinforced.
Mindflow is the mind in operation. The mind is locked into certain patterns for good reason. It uses familiar thought processes, concepts, connections and interpretations as a means of filtering and coping with the world. The environment or context determines what is seen, what is interpreted and what meaning is implied. For example, when someone asks in English, 'What does S-I-L-K spell?' the answer given is, 'Silk.' When one then asks, 'What do cows drink?' people will often respond, 'Milk.'
A mindset is the order within which people structure their worlds and how they make choices, both practical and idealistic, based on values, philosophy, traditions and aspirations. The mindset is our accustomed, convenient way of thinking and guide to decision-making. It not only determines how we act in our small local world, but also how we think and act on an ever-increasingly encompassing stage. The mindset is the settled summary of our prejudices and priorities and the rationalizations we give them.
A changed mindset is a rerationalization of a person's behaviour; people like their behaviour to be coherent - at least to themselves. The crucial issue is how to get the urban professions to change their approach systematically - but not piece by piece.
A mindshift is the process whereby the way one thinks of one's position, function and core ideas is dramatically reassessed and changed. At its best it is based on the capacity to be open-minded enough to allow this change to occur. At times this happens through reflective observation of the world around. At others, possibly more often, it occurs through external circumstance and is forced upon individuals and groups through crisis.23
It is not only individuals, professions or collectives like companies that have a mindset, but also societies and periods of history. For example, an era shaped by certain religious or ethical values is affected by the dominant thinking; an era is also shaped by predominant views of how right and wrong is established or by scientific theories. Science is a method in the quest for truth, yet itself is a particular approach. Within each period specific scientific paradigms dominate over others. For example, the long-established idea of holism, the idea that things are connected, was until recently sidetracked and reductionism was in the ascendancy. The increased awareness of complexity has challenged this primacy, which is why in the political domain there is increased talk of joined-up, integrated and holistic thinking. Yet governments' aim to foster joined-up thinking will only succeed if they forcefully challenge certain entrenched scientific hierarchies. The power of reduction-ism nevertheless lingers on as those at the height of their profession and with power were probably educated 20 or 30 years ago and so have had the reductionist mindset etched into them. We now know we need to look both at the parts and the whole together. Regretfully we always seem to be behind the times in realizing what is necessary.
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