Zoom Thinking: The Basics

Like our muscles, our minds tend to contract and tighten — especially when we’re overwhelmed with information.

Zoom Thinking is about getting the mind moving again. There are three core components:

These are basic thinking skills you can apply in any thinking situation.  Examples of the Zoom Skills include:


Finding Neutral

Being relaxed and non-reactive in the presence of a data mass



 Becoming aware of “the feeling of the thought”



Summarizing ideas with the least words possible


Situational Awareness

Recognizing and observing contexts


Creative Ignorance

Refusing to know what you know

These are techniques that stimulate mental movement. You can use them alone or in any combination, as need arises. A few examples:



The tactic that separates the forest from the trees. You look at the data mass close up, and from 30,000 feet, and all points in between.


This tactic applies a familiar rule: “Begin with the end in mind.” You work backwards from a notional outcome.

The Empathic Jump

You identify others who might be relevant to your project, and see things from their point of view.

There and Back

Imagine the most extreme possible version of your concept, then return to reality with that wild idea in mind.

Negative Space

Sometimes the hardest thing to see is what isn’t there. With this tactic, you look for what’s missing.

The Zoom Tactics provide a set of tools to draw on, but they also become habits of mind to enrich your day-to-day thinking.

Reverse Mind Mapping

Reverse Mind-Mapping is the opposite of mind-mapping, which begins with one idea and branches out to generate lots of detail.

RM begins with a mass of detail and progressively moves toward a central idea.

Reverse Mind-Mapping is explained in greater detail on a separate page of this website.

Learn More About Reverse Mind Mapping

Zoom Thinking was developed by Jon Ward. Contact Jon here.