Tim Longhurst's Blog

Hot models get me thinking

November 20th, 2006 · 1 Comment

There is power in the simplicity of a diagram or model. I remember first reading Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits and reading about his Four Quadrants, and later, attending a course at Tamkang University in Taipei, being introduced to the Futures Triangle.

Four Quadrants

Stephen Covey believes that any minute of the day your activities fit into one of four quadrants:

  • Important and Urgent (Quadrant 1)
  • Important but Not Urgent (Quadrant 2)
  • Urgent but Not Important (Quadrant 3); or,
  • Not Urgent and Not Important (Quadrant 4)

Covey believes the most effective people live the majority of their lives in Quadrant 2, looking after those aspects of their lives that are important but not yet urgent.
Covey elaborates in his book, but I think the model can still be employed as a way of thinking about your time management without reading the whole book.

Futures Triangle
I was introduced to this tool at Tamkang University in Taipei. This model can be applied to any issue. I can easily apply it to the issue of Australia becoming a republic. The ‘Pull’ is the vision: Australia becoming an independent nation with its own head of state. The ‘Push’ is what’s pushing Australia toward that vision, for example, a greater sense of national independence. The ‘weights’ hold us back from the ‘pulls’ and the ‘pushes’.

In this example, the weights would include a sense of tradition and Australia’s identity as a European colony. Somewhere inside that triangle is a possible future. The relative strengths of the pulls, pushes and weights will influence where inside the futures triangle we will end up. For example, will the weight of tradition overcome the sense of independence some Australians feel, or will the vision of an independent Republic of Australia triumph over the weight of Australia’s European history?

The Futures Triangle can be a useful tool in teasing out key issues in futures and even communication campaigns.

So what are your ‘hot models’?

I am particularly interested in assembling a collection of ‘hot models’ that can be applied in a variety of situations, whether they be at a personal or planetary level. If you have a model you like to use, I’d love to hear about it. Please contact me, even if it’s with a one-line recommendation!

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Category: Guide to better living