Critical Thinking Exercise: Suspending Judgement

Critical thinking and creative thinking are naturally intertwined. For example, when solving a problem, you must first use critical thinking to define the problem and how you would measure success.  Next, you must generate new ideas, possibilities and alternatives.  That process requires creative thinking.  Once the new ideas have been generated, we must use critical thinking again to examine which alternative is logistically possible and would be most successful.

Brainstorming can be difficult at times, and one very important technique for effective idea generation is suspending all judgement.  This is one of many critical thinking techniques covered in the Critical Thinking Boot Camp.  It takes work to re-train your brain to let ideas flow freely.  We naturally censor ourselves and assess whether or not something is possible before we verbalize our ideas.  We have been socially trained to focus on the generation of quality ideas rather than quantity.  However, the greatest innovations often come when we purposely do not censor ourselves. The more ideas the better. You never know when the wildest idea could be refined into a workable solution.

Let’s practice together with a critical thinking exercise to create the world’s best airline.

Last week I wrote a blog post about how to select the correct airline for your unique needs at  In that post, I discussed how to use a decision making process to select between multiple alternatives.  For our critical thinking exercise, let’s erase all pre-conceived ideas about what is possible on a plane and imagine what would make the perfect airline.  What features and amenities would each plane have?

Post your ideas in the comment section, and remember to let the ideas flow.  Do not self-censor or criticize your own ideas.  Feel free to add on to the ideas posted by others.

To get the brainstorming started, here are a few of my wish-list items for the perfect airline:

  • TV’s at every seat for no additional charge
  • Touch screen TV’s with internet access
  • Satellite Radio
  • Sleeping pods (no matter how short the flight is)
  • Extra Hip Room seats (just like the Extra-Leg Room seats available now)
  • Heated Seats
  • Massaging seats
  • In-flight Starbucks baristas (Venti White Chocolate Mocha with Vanilla, please!)
  • Kid’s section (kids and parents only- play, talk, and cry as loud as you want with no dirty looks from others).
  • Rear facing seats (similar to seating on trains) so a family of four can face one another).
  • Recliners
  • Complimentary Snuggies
  • Complimentary sound proofing headphones
  • Only direct flights
  • Ultra Violet Light Sanitizer between every flight
  • Aromatherapy
  • Roomier bathroom
  • Hand sanitizing packets available at every seat

What would you add?

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Editor’s Note: Breanne Harris is the Solutions Architect for Pearson TalentLens.  She works with customers to design selection and development plans that incorporate critical thinking assessments and training.  She has a Master’s degree in Organizational Psychology and has experience in recruiting, training, and HR consulting.  She is the chief blogger for Critical Thinkers and occasionally posts at ThinkWatson.  Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter for more of her thoughts.

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