The Value of Employing Mental Models Across Disciplines
Mental models offer distilled representations of how things work in order to help us better understand the world. They shape not only what we think and how we understand but the the connections, interrelations and opportunities that we see. They provide us structure for simplifying the complexity of the world and the much needed context to quantify the relevance of things.
The quality of our thinking is proportional to the models available to us for any given situation at hand. In this light, we can think of mental models as a cognitive toolbox of sorts. The bigger and more varied our toolbox, the higher the probability we’ll have the right tool for the circumstances at hand.
Most of us are specialists though, we have a solid understanding of the models relevant for the specialized occupations we have. This is useful for getting a well-paying job in a diversified economy, but it also has a serious, unintended side effect; different specialists see the same situation through different models. While market economies have served us well in coordinating this diverse specialized knowledge towards specific ends, many markets across the developing world can’t offer the necessary incentives to coordinate actors to overcome this complexity.
SEA’s Mental Model repository is designed to help synthesize this complexity across a range of actors relevant to catalyzing innovation, impact and investment across East Africa. By taking a multi-disciplinary approach, we hope users find it easier to synthesize conflicting views and account for the models through which other actors view both challenges and opportunities of shared value.