The School of Thinking is a postgraduate degree programme organized by CLEA at the VUB. Through lectures, workshops, seminars and exercises, led by our researchers and international experts, students are trained in a variety of methods to ‘think beyond boundaries’, i.e. more creatively, critically, systemically and practically. Thus, they acquire the tools to better deal with the complex problems in present-day science, society, business and technology.
The generalist curriculum of the School of Thinking is addressed to working professionals whose interests are focused on tackling complex, ‘wicked’, multidisciplinary or unprecedented problems — and particularly to those, for whom the outcome of their work critically depends on the quality of thinking. The primary aim of the programme is for the participants to develop the capacity for cultivating extraordinary intelligence: individually, as well as in their communities, teams and organizations. Learning how to bring one’s thinking performance beyond the threshold of the expected ‘ordinary’, again and again, results in an intelligence capacity that continuously exceeds its own limits. To develop such capacity, the participants acquire a combination of skills, theoretical knowledge and above all the experience of integrating these into their unique everyday practice. This informs the following specific objectives of the programme:
• The students will be able to fluently select from a rich array of advanced thinking frameworks, methods and tools (such as complexity thinking, systems thinking, design thinking, collective intelligence tools etc.), apply them in real-world circumstances, and guide others (collaborators, teams, organizations) in joining in and thinking together.
• By applying and evaluating diverse thinking frameworks, the students will learn to disassociate their activity of thinking from specific patterns and methods that their thought is in the habit of using. This is how they will learn to approach frameworks they are familiar with merely as a ‘training infrastructure’ for exercising the power, plasticity and movability of thought.
• By learning to observe and appreciate the extraordinary thinking of others as well as of oneself, the students will learn to affirm and support the paths and stances which expand the horizons of thought.
• The students will become fluent in crossing all kinds of boundaries, in particular those maintained by the academic disciplines and professional identities. They will learn how all historically evolved academic, professional, organizational, cultural and ideological worldviews, disciplines and categories can be deployed by the thinker, without anymore imposing on thought their impassable boundaries.
More information about the School of Thinking can be found on the programme’s dedicated website: www.schoolofthinking.be