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7.4.1. Classification: Chunking the World


How To Invent (Almost) Anything > 7. How The Brain Works > 7.4. Classification: Making Sense of the World > 7.4.1. Classification: Chunking the World

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 When a baby opens its eyes, its brain is swamped by the riot of colour in the world around it. To understand this complexity, it gradually learns to break the world down, encoding it into separate chunks of information. Mother, father, food: each gradually comes to be recognised as a distinct and individual chunk of information.

We continue to manage the world’s complexities by creating hierarchies of chunks. A leaf is on a branch, which is on tree. Thus we can focus in on our mother’s finger-tip or hand, or chunk out to see the whole person as a single entity.

We can make deliberate use of this ability in innovation, for example by chunking down into the detail of the problem or chunking up to see the big picture. By changing our perspective, we see different things about the situation.

Fig. 7.6 Chunking levels


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