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Seeing Part 1: Pattern Recognition



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this is Dan and this is the napkin

Academy today's lesson is going to be

about visual thinking process step

number two seeing otherwise known as

pattern recognition and the blank ways

we see the six the six ways that we see

that's how many we're going to find that

there are so the way I want to think

about this let's let's put ourselves in

a little allegorical situation and let's

imagine that we are a happy little deer

and we're standing by the side of the

road happily crunching on I don't know

whatever it is the deer eat and all of

the sudden along the road comes this

noisy flashing loud roaring tearing

thing coming right at us what do we do

we panic do we become the deer in the

headlights and we get mowed down the

issue is we can't solve a problem that

over whelmed x' our senses we can't

solve a problem that overwhelms us we

become like the deer in the headlights

when we see a big scary problem coming

at us and that's what we don't want to

have happen and what we need to learn to

do is to be able to very quickly see

recognize the patterns of what is coming

at us so that it doesn't knock us down

you know we don't have to be a deer to

imagine how this works I don't know if

if any I don't know if you've ever

purchased something from Ikea you know

it's wonderful like Heeia has all these

great modular pieces of furniture and

you go into the huge IKEA mega store and

inside they have a showroom or they have

lots of assembled pieces Sookie and they

have lots of boxes in the on the bottom

floor they have is where they have all

the boxes and what you do is you go into

the top floor and you see what you want

to buy and then you move to the bottom

floor and that's where they have all

these boxes stacked up and so you are up

on the showroom and you saw this

beautiful shelf you know let's say you

saw a shelf that looks something like

this it's got it's a cabinet is what it

is got two doors on the bottom and then

it's got a couple of shelves up here and

you really like that and you can imagine

that very very well sitting in your

bedroom I think that's what I want so

you go into Ikea and you go and you buy

the box and you're very very happy

because you're looking at that lovely

picture on the box and you are perfectly

well imagining how lovely that thing is

going to look in your bedroom and then

what happens and then you open the box

and what do you see you see a bunch of

pieces you see a bunch of things that

are undifferentiated that are just in a

big pile you know and there's there's

some big pieces and there's some little

pieces and there's some metal railing

and then there's this bag that's full of

all kinds of funny little nuts and bolts

and then there's this crazy little

wrench thing and usually there's some

other kind of a tool and you're thinking

wait a minute I'm not happy about this

I'm overwhelmed this is not what I had

expected I'm not seeing here what I had

wanted to and I hope you're getting the

parallel along with this that this is

exactly what happens with most business

problems we begin with an idea of what

we think we're facing and we began with

an idea of what we think a solution is

going to look like but then we start

drilling down into all of the pieces

into the finances and into the people

and into the change management and into

the marketing issues and the

manufacturing issues and you know name

it and before long what we have thought

was a pretty clear and straightforward

problem now looks something like this

well back to our kiya hai kiya analogy

what is the first

that we can actually do well you know

what I do and this is exactly what I'm

going to recommend we do for all problem

solving is I don't let that thing

overwhelm me I do not become the deer in

the headlights what I do is I look for

the patterns among those pieces and I do

that by sorting and I do that by

clumping and what I'm doing is I'm

trying to recognize recognize the pieces

and the shapes and what do they have in

common so that I can stack them up and I

can say well over here I'm going to put

all of my big pieces and over here I'm

going to stack all of the smaller pieces

and over here I'm going to put all of

those railing things and over here I'm

going to put all those angly things and

then I'm going to take and layout here's

all the little screws and here all the

little bolts and here's the little tool

and all of the sudden once again I'm

feeling happy I have not solved the

problem I haven't yet built the cabinet

the cabinet still remains a bit of a

dream but now at least based on the

pieces that I'm seeing I can't imagine

how I'm going to build that cabinet all

right that's a little bit theoretical

maybe a little bit metaphysical but the

reality of it is that the way we make

our way through the world and do not

become overwhelmed like that

deer-in-the-headlights is that we are

exceptionally good as people at pattern

recognition we are the best at

recognizing patterns that's why so much

of our visual processing has been

dedicated to vision I mean let's face it

the pattern recognition could be pretty

simple I could see that I'm looking at

stripes or I can look at something else

and see that I'm looking at a plaid or I

can look at something else and I can see

that I'm looking at spots and my mind is

going to be able to do different things

with recognizing those different kinds

of patterns part of the reason

that my I'm so good at pattern

recognition is because our vision system

has evolved over millions and millions

of years to allow us to effectively see

the world around us now the reality for

us is that our world is

three-dimensional so if I was to try to

represent schematically the space in

which we live it would look like a

three-dimensional box and we know at all

times as long as our eyes are open where

we are standing within that box and the

reason that we can do that is because

our vision system has evolved to follow

and understand a particular coordinate

system and if you don't remember what a

coordinate system is go back and look at

the lesson on looking looking part

number two we'll talk all about

coordinate systems and why they're so

important well here we're getting into

the meat of it the reason it's important

is the reason I'm I don't fall down the

moment I walk into a room the reason I

don't become a deer in the headlights as

I shift from one environment to the

other is because we have a coordinate

system that our visual system our visual

thinking system recognizes our eyes

recognize all the time a vision system

recognizes up and down and left and

right and frontwards and backwards and

thousands and thousands of times a

second our eyes are tracking up-down

left-right because we understand that

the world in which we live can be mapped

out into a very simple X Y Z

three-dimensional coordinate system

which our vision system understands and

we can look at a picture or we can look

at the world and we can know where we

stand within it and where everything is

relative to

well that's fine if we're looking at an

IKEA cabinet that's fine if we're

looking at a three-dimensional space

that's fine if we're looking at a couple

of squares and wheels that make up a car

but what happens if we're looking at an

idea how can we possibly try to come up

with a pictorial representation of

something that's as complex as an idea

or a problem when it doesn't fall into

some sort of 3d coordinate system what

do we do what coordinate system can we

possibly find to help us give ourselves

position ourselves and recognize where

we are within that and how all of the

pieces are going to fit together we have

such a coordinate system and it becomes

the essence of seeing it is a six

dimensional coordinate system now before

you go and think that I've just gone off

the into lala land and I'm going to

start talking about string theory in the

17 dimensionality of multi-domestic this

six dimensional coordinate system is

boneheaded ly simple and it is also true

what is it we already know it instead of

a three dimensional coordinate system

for solving problems we're going to come

up with a six dimensional coordinate

system that allows us to see any problem

and understand what it is that we are

seeing and those six dimensions are

they're not up and down and left and

right there's something a little more

conceptual and yet intuitive they are

who and what they are how much

coordinate number three is where

coordinate number four

or is when coordinate number five is how

and coordinate number six is why very

conceptual but bear with me for a moment

because this is going to help us

tremendously what I mean by this is when

we look at a big scary hairy problem the

way our vision system has evolved to

understand that believe it or not is to

break that problem up into six different

discrete types of visual information

which map directly to who and what who

are the players what are the pieces how

much how many of them are there are

there lots of them are are there few of

them where are they in relation to each

other are they above are they below to

the left or the right

when do they interact which one comes

first which one comes second and which

one comes third how do they interact

does one cause something else or does it

cause something else and lastly why are

they the way they are what is the

underlying coordinate system that it

brings all of them together so that I

can understand the causes and the

relationships and the underlying why

between all the things that I've just

seen this is going to become the basis

this six dimensional coordinate system

is going to become the basis of the most

important tool that we're going to use

which is going to be called the 6x6 rule

and let's go ahead and make this real

for a moment and then we'll move in to

what is really going on with the 6x6

rule