Abstraction & Generalization

The ability to create and think with concepts is of the most powerful advantages of human cognition.

Good thinkers exploit the concepts embedded in language to generalize discovered patterns across similar problems, solutions and situations.

Great thinkers learn to abstract, and in so doing create entirely new concepts that represent similarities and patterns that are novel, uncaptured by existing conceptual schemes.

What is the most general version of your solution? Of your problem? Of your idea?

By what mechanism causes your favorite technique work? What is the why behind it? And with that causal mechanism in mind, what other techniques can leverage it? And immediately you go from having one technique to having a stable of techniques, unified by their mechanism.

Can you map your problem to a more general representation (ex., from the internet to a graph, or from your leadership structure to a hierarchy) which will let you leverage bodies of existing solutions?

Assume your example, your datapoint, is just one element of an entire class of examples. What is that class? What else is in it? What axes create a space of possible examples?

All of Systematizing Creativity is Abstraction. Where mental motions fall into a category. Where idea listing is one datapoint, one example of the class of techniques that automate creative thinking.