Pattern Thinking is a very simple 3-step process:
- List the elements (problems, solutions, pros, cons etc).
- Find common themes across the list.
- Find the repeating patterns across the common themes.
This method is applied both to diagnosis (determining what interaction-pattern is driving the situation) and intervention (working out how to change the interaction-pattern to change the situation as required). The general case is problem-pattern then solution-pattern, as depicted below:
The popular free Smartphone App, 4 Pics 1 Word, illustrates the concept beautifully. Check it out!
It may be a simple technique, but don't expect it to be easy at first! Sometimes it takes hours – and even days – to find the repeating pattern. But in most situations, it takes under an hour, once you've got the hang of it.
The trick is to suspend your disbelief that there is a single pattern. Until you do that, you won't be able to bring yourself to really look for one. Looking for patterns is different from looking for other things, because you only know what you're looking for, once you've found it.
Even the most experienced practitioners can't see new common themes and repeating patterns until they've gone through the process - which is the primary reason that we don't look for commonality deliberately.
Click here to understand why the insight this method creates is so valuable and powerful...