Innovative Thinking
Philosophy 1301 & Information Studies 1371 w/ Colby Glass

A major component of critical thinking is innovative thinking--coming up with unique, better ideas. Creative thinking should "transform your life…to overcome the momentum of habit, the weight of reality, and the coercion of conformity…" (Chaffee 73). Innovative thinking involves seeing things in a different way.

"In your own life, when you come up with something creative, be prepared to meet negativity and skepticism, a common reaction that reflects one of the more unfortunate qualities of human nature. But if you are able to maintain your initiative, you will find that your courage will be rewarded, for while the price of creativity may sometimes be high, the debilitating cost of conformity is always higher" (Chaffee 81).

"..thinking effectively involves both thinking creatively and thinking critically." (Chaffee 96).

by Sam Walter Foss

One day, through the primeval woods,
A calf walked home, as good calves should;
But made a trail all bent askew,
A crooked path, as all calves do.

The trail was taken up the very next day
By a lone dog that passed that way.
And then a wise bellwether sheep
Pursued that trail o'er vale and steep
And drew the flock behind him, too,
As good bellwethers always do.
And from that day, o'er hill and glade,
Through those old woods a path was made.

And many men wound in and out
And dodged and turned and bent about,
And uttered words of righteous wrath
Because 'twas such a crooked path.

The forest path became a lane
That bent and turned and turned again.
This crooked lane became a road
Where many a poor horse with is load
Toiled on beneath the burning sun...
And traveled some three miles in one!

The years passed on in swiftness fleet.
The road became a village street.
And this, before men were aware,
Became a city's crowded thoroughfare.

Each day a hundred thousand rout
Followed that ziz-zag calf about.
And o'er his crooked journey went
The traffic of a continent.

A hundred thousand men were led
By one calf near three centuries dead.
They followed still his crooked way
And lost some one hundreds years a day!

For thus such reverence is lent
to well established precedent.

For men are prone to go it blind
Along the calf-path of the mind,
And work away from sun to sun
To do what other men have done.
They follow in the beaten track,
And out, and in, and forth, and back,
And still their devious course pursue
To keep the path that others do.

They keep the path a sacred groove
Along which all their lives they move.
But, oh how the wise old wood-gods laugh
Who saw that first primeval calf.

"Robert Louis Stevenson observed, 'To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive'" (Chaffee 106).

"Strategy: Record in your Thinking Notebook the ideas you express that are directed toward pleasing or impressing others. Also record the ideas that you did not express because you were concerned that others would not appreciate or approve of them. After a few days you should be able to discern 'inner-directed' and 'other-directed' pattern in your life. If you conclude that the scales are tipped toward 'other-directed,' start making the appropriate adjustments and evaluate your daily progress" (Chaffee 106).

Works Cited

Chaffee, John. The Thinker's Way: 8 Steps To A Richer Life: Think Critically, Live Creatively, Choose Freely. To read more on this topic, go to the class's reserved reading list and open CHAFFEE reading #2.

Please send comments to: Colby Glass, MLIS

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