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The dubio-engine II – Accelerate your (self-) awareness!

February 3, 2012

As a true doubtaholic, I constantly strive for more awareness of myself, and of others around me. In doing that, I find it helpful to ‘stretch’ my thinking a little bit by asking myself less-usual questions, like “How much am I?” (see post with the same title). After a while it becomes harder and harder to come up with new questions, so I decided to come up with an ‘engine’ to help me generate more, and more extraordinary, questions related to the what, how, and why of what keeps me busy.

In a second attempt (following this one), I came up with the following ‘dubio-engine’:

A dubio-engine

So how does this work? Before you start, build a dubio-engine yourself, following the detailed steps described in the image below (or download “How to make a dubio-engine“) using the files “Dubio engine sheet 1” and “Dubio-engine sheet 2“.

How to make a dubio-engine (click to enlarge)

  1. Once you’ve completed your dubio-engine, select a primary doubt (what, how, why?) by pulling the first strip up or down and choosing your primary question. Would you like to focus your attention on actions or choices (what?), behaviours or methods (how?) or motives or values (why?).
  2. Select a subject (who?). Select the subject of your awareness. Are you focusing on yourself, your team (we), or a specific stakeholder of the organisation that you work in (they). To really ‘unusualise’ your questions, start with ‘unknown’ or ‘nobody’.
  3. Now, select an action, if you can. This is not absolutely necessary as you will be able to come up with actions yourself in a later stage. You can choose to leave this one blank.
  4. Select a secondary doubt Third step is to add a secondary what-, how- or why-question (if you can handle it) to add an extra layer to the questions.
  5. You can continue by repeating step 2 and 3 (strip 5 and 6) for your secondary doubt.
  6. To make it even more challenging, you can choose to include three more variables using the last three strips. This will add a time, place or quantity/quality perspective to the question you will have to come up with.

Now write down the elements you’ve generated and try to construct a question out of it (see instructions-image above for an example). It is absolutely not necessary to include all strips, but try to at least include a primary and secondary doubt. Good luck!

By doing this exercise, and by trying to answer the questions I find, I get to new insights that can help me (start to) become (even) better at what I do.

Q: Dear reader, what do you think of this question-generator?

This post is an improved version of an older post with the same title

One Comment
  1. Sense making (for me) is not about categories and recepies. Why-what-how are categories; a doubt generator is a recepy, however cute the design.

    To me, enquiry is like a journey. Sometimes you discover a chart that helps you for a while. But then you have to leave it again, because you have found better concepts, ideas, concepts or charts to be merged with the one you had. Or – more profoundly and way more frightening – because you have experiences which show that your chart doesn’t work, even if you haven’t found a better one to replace it. Then you must travel on as if you were blind, having left your old framework behind and having no new one to guide you.

    In my experience, learning happens in all of these situations. By discovering new territory with an old map. By rediscovering old and new territory with a new map. And also: while travelling in the shadows, having unlearned the stuff you thought was right while having no new alternative.

    What I just wrote is not about why or what or how. I hope it still makes sense. 🙂

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