Brief updates from Austhink Consulting




September 2013

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Engaging Members in Developing Policy using YourView
Now that the dust has settled after the election and the Fairfax YourView Election Forum,  we are turning our attention to how the YourView platform can be used internally within organisations.  In particular, with are focusing on how organisations with memberships (associations, unions, political parties, etc.,) might address the challenge of engaging their members in policy development, using a suitably modified version of the platform.  
Two prominent organisations are now looking closely at using the platform internally (one a professional association, the other a political party).  We are currently seeking additional "early adopters" with whom we can work closely. If you are involved with an organisation to which this might be relevant, please contact us.  
What is "critical thinking" in a business context?
Tim has been engaged in rethinking critical thinking, particularly in a business context.  He's developing a new framework based around the various kinds of judgements typically made in business, such as decision, prediction, estimation, explanation, and so forth.  He will be presenting on this topic at a conference in Melbourne in December; see the abstract on his blog.  
New work on 'legal informatics'
Paul has commenced working with the ANU's Legal Workshop to help them think through the future of legal education in the era of the rapidly accelerating information revolution, with a view to facilitating the creation of new approaches to on-line learning.
Intellectual tourism
We have begun exploring a partnership with professionals from the tourism industry to create "intellectual tourism" (as distinct from "cultural tourism"). The idea is to take groups of clients to key sites where controversial public issues (e.g., CSG) are unfolding and enable them to explore the issues in depth with first-hand experience as a guide.  If this sounds interesting to you, we'd be very happy to discuss.
Review of Taxing Air
Paul reviewed the climate "sceptic" manifesto Taxing Air for the Fairfax press. He noted that if you are looking for a clear and succinct summary of the contrarian position, this will serve you well, with the added feature of numerous witty cartoons by John Spooner. The challenge is to compare its arguments with the best responses from consensus positions on sites such as Sceptical Science. Do so freely and calmly is the advice.
Opinion piece in The Age on Syria
On Friday 6 September, Paul had an op ed in The Age, drawing attention both to the appalling situation in Syria (100,000 dead, two million refugees, chemical weapons) and the indirect implications for Australia's next Defence White Paper. Assuming the Coalition wins, there is serious work for its Defence White Paper to do.
Evangelical Atheism 
We herald the forthcoming A Manual For Creating Atheists by fellow applied epistemologist Peter Boghossian, with whom we have been in friendly communication for many years. This is a very gutsy "street smart" manual for helping people not into religious faith but out of it. Its mission may not be one you agree with, but it is a terrific read.  
Austhinking previous editions: 
  • July 2013 - Election Forum, China, Jews and Jesus
  • June 2013 - Elections, Predictions, Spies and Shakespeare
  • May 2013 - Meta-analysis, Mapping and Democracy
  • April 2013 - Collective Knowledge, Rise of China, Intelligence, and a Puzzler
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