The Brain: Creativity and Convention

I have been reading Jill Bolte Taylor’s book, My Stroke of Insight and began thinking about creativity and convention as right brain parallel and left brain linear functions respectively. I also began to think about David Bryson’s Circadian Theory of Learning and related research where left brain linear learning seems to dominate the waking state and right brain parallel learning seems to dominate the sleeping state.

Concludes Walker, “These findings point to an important benefit [of sleep] that we had not previously considered. Sleep not only strengthens a person’s individual memories, it appears to actually knit them together and helps realize how they are associated with one another. And this may, in fact, turn out to be the primary goal of sleep: You go to bed with pieces of the memory puzzle, and awaken with the jigsaw completed.”

My work with systems has me thinking about Cursive and Recursive relationships and how they might play out as right brain and left brain phenomena as well where right brain cursive relationships interrelate and left brain recursive relationships intrarelate.

Finally, I am thinking about John Zachman’s Enterprise Architecture and the creation of Collections, Associations and Attributions as right brain functions and Objections, Definitions and Operations as left brain functions.

Here is the video of Jill Bolte Taylor’s presentation

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The Brain: Intelligence, Innovation, Creativity

I have just finished reading a Cutter Consortium white paper entitled The Psychology and Motivation of Creativity and Innovation by Paul Robertson. I found it quite interesting and it gave me some insight into the Six Hats model.

Paul describes a three ring model as illustrated below:

The Substantial World is the external world of your senses. The Structural World is the Substantial World you have accepted as rational. The Conceptual World is the Structural world you think within habitually. It should be noted that the Substantial World is a subset of the Real World, the Structural World is a subset of the Substantial World and the Conceptual World is a subset of the Structural World.

When we are thinking habitually we are using intelligence:

When we cross the boundary between habitual and rational thought we are using innovation:

When we cross the boundary between rational and external thought we are using creativity:

The Creative world is the world of values that do not fall within the domain of the Innovative world and the Innovative world is the world of values that do not fall within the context of the Intelligent world.

Here is the same concept represented as the Six Focuses of Database Design:

From the above illustration you can see that creativity involves incorporating data manipulation and data definition into the domains and attributes; innovation involves incorporating data domains and data attributes into the relationships and entities; and intelligence involves utilizing existing relationships and entities.

I want to point out that I do not necessarily agree with this concept because I believe the six hats can be top down as well as bottom up. What I mean to say is creativity can come from the front lines as well as from senior positions.

Systema: Off with the Hats, Off with the Coats

In having attempted to think with the Six Thinking Hats metaphor developed by Edward de Bono and attemping to extend it by creating a Six Coat metaphor, I came to the conclusion that Edward was taking the wrong approach. He was using different colors, but he was not differentiating by shape. Consequently, his mnemonic device was hard to retain.

Using the icons I created in the previous post I am now going to abandon Six Hats, Six Coats and abstract the Zachman Framework for Enterprise Architecture using these new mnemonic devices. I hope to improve them with time.


What is not recognized by John Zachman and Enterprise Architects is that the rows and columns of the framework are synonymous and fixed. That indeed there is only one methodology. This means the following:

  1. All concepts are created only by motives. Each motive has a unique set of the six focus concepts or entities.
  2. All contexts are created only by people. Each person has a unique set of the six focus contexts or relationships.
  3. All logics are created only by functions. Each function has a unique set of the six focus logics or attributes.
  4. All physics are created only by data. Each datum has a unique set of the six focus physics or constraints.
  5. All spherics are created only by nodes. Each node has a unique set of the six focus spherics or definitions.
  6. All episodics are created only by events. Each event has a uniques set of the six focus episodics or manipulations.

This is what social networks are teaching us on a smaller scale. When we look at a social network we are seeing contexts being created by persons. But there are five additional focuses (motives, functions, data, nodes, events) that create five additional perspectives (concepts, logics, physics, spherics and episodics) respectively. This we do not fully understand or apply.

Although our thinking is organic and we do not recognize the above framework, any reproduction and refinement of the results would require recording and executing them in this disciplined fashion.

Systema: The Seventh Hat


I didn’t expect it, but I had an epiphany regarding the Six Hats, Six Coats concept. Basically I realized the focuses (columns) of the Zachman framework do not necessarily have to be within the confines of a computer system. It suddenly became obvious that a media perspective (row) had to be added to the framework to account for non-computer media.

The result is the following diagram:


The implication is a greater flexibility for system specifications.

Related Posts:

Systema: Seven Hats, Seven Links

Six Hats, Six Coats: The Structured Thinking System

Thought I would take a moment to briefly review how far we have come.

First, we looked at a variety of tetrads.

Here is James Moffett’s Universe of Discourse:

We concluded that human systems are hexads and we arrived at the Six Hat, Six Coat Framework:

Next, we will look at the Entities, Relationships, Attributes and Constraints within the framework.

Defining the Six Hat, Six Coat Entities has been very much like defining a periodic table. I have had to suspend my own biases many times to align myself with the concepts the Cartesian product were revealing to me.

I have stated that the relationships between entities are one to many left to right and one to many top to bottom. John Zachman believes the structure is like a table with movable columns. I do not. I believe the framework and the entities are fixed in a hierarchy implicitly. However, explicit relationships can exist contrary to this fundamental structure.

We have also explored the attributes for each of the entities and their constraints/freedoms. I provided an alternate set of names: Morality (cause), Compatibility (observer), Reliability (energy), Fidelity (matter), Accessibility (space)  and Availability (time).

I will be coming back to the Structured Thinking Language and experiment further.

Related Posts:

Systema: Seven Hats, Seven Links

Implicity and Explicity

Nothing can be so amusingly arrogant
as a young man who has just discovered an old idea
and thinks it is his own.
Sidney J. Harris

By now I think I have established the legitimacy of the Six Hats, Six Coats Framework and I am presenting it here in what I am going to consider its final form:


Every notational technique is a combination of two or more of the Six Coats. What we are working toward ultimately is a language to interrelate all Six Hats and Six Coats at once.

In this post I want to think about the terms “implicit” and “explicit” and how they relate to the Six Hats, Six Coats Framework. For the purpose of this framework implicit is defined as unchanging and invisible; explicit is defined as changing and visible.

Every entity, relationship, attribute, constraint, definition and manipulation has an implicit and explicit name. As well, every motive, locale, object, method, person and event has an implicit and explicit name. An implicit name is unique and once assigned cannot be changed. An explicit name is unique, but it can be changed. The implicit name is not visible to the user. The explicit name is visible to the user.

An entity which contains its own primary key is an implicit entity. An entity which contains a key from another entity in its primary key is an explicit entity.

A relationship that connects one entity’s primary key as part of the attributes of another entity is an implicit relationship. A relationship that connects one entity’s primary key as part of another entity’s primary key is an explicit relationship.

If the primary key is never made visible to the user and cannot be changed it is an implicit primary key. If the primary key is visible and can be changed as long as it is unique it is an explicit primary key.

Attributes that are foreign keys are implicit attributes. Attributes that are non-key are explicit attributes.

Constraints are implicit when they are data listed in a foreign entity. Constraints are explicit when they are a datatype.

Definitions are implicit when they protect explicit child tables. Definitions are explicit when they cascade manipulations.

Implicit manipulations maintain an audit trail. Explicit manipulations do not maintain an audit trail.

So, what is the purpose of implicity and explicity? Primarily it is strength and flexibility. Implicit design results in rigid, but more integral systems. Explicit design results in flexible, but less complete systems. For example, in an office you have work to rule, which is implicit, and work to allow, which is explicit. Ultimately, in dealing with implicity and explicity it is best to strike a balance. No system is fully normalized or fully exceptionalized. It is necessary to allow for both normality and exceptions as no system is fully closed or fully open.

Implicity and Explicity