Conceptual Thinking

Understanding a situation or environment by putting the pieces together and identifying patterns that may not be obviously related. Connecting the dots while resisting stereotyping.



Competency Area



Applies basic rules

Applies basic rules, common sense, and past experiences to identify causal relations, patterns etc. or their absence

Is able to recognise when a current situation is exactly the same as/similar to a past situation

Recognises patterns

Quickly identifies key issues or patterns in day-to day situations

Able to derive conscious rationale or its absence from recurring situations or events

Creates own hypothesis to current situation or problem

Applies learning

Uses well-chosen analogies to illustrate an issue or a situation

Applies and modifies complex learned concepts appropriately

Considers how well situations are described by existing models

Reaches conclusions by identifying the similarities and differences between situations

Steps back in order to see the bigger picture

Clarifies complex situations to stakeholders

Communicates the ‘big picture’ clearly to others

Makes complex ideas or situations clear, simple, and understandable

Breaks-down a complex issue into a useful model or illustration

Assembles ideas, issues, and observations into a clear and useful explanation

Develops new understanding/ meaning

Develops new ideas that lead to greater efficiency and inclusiveness, for e.g. by analysing global best practices

Willing to experiment without being constrained by bias, stereotypes and traditional views

Proposes new approaches to the department and/or civil services

Proposes alternative, radical hypotheses and tests them/keeps them in play

Redefines the understanding of stakeholder and community needs