Note — Feb 07, 2022

Obsidian, Roam, and the Rise of Integrated Thinking Environments—What They Are, What They Do, and What’s Next

Highlights from the piece where I first found the term Integrated Thinking Environment (ITE). I then used the term in an ITE thread. Other words for similar concepts are Personal Knowledge Management (or Mastery) and Thinking Tools. I wrote about these kinds of things in Dispatch 15 and Dispatch 02.


ITEs provide users with specific and customizable toolsets to be able to navigate, organize, and transform their thinking—and these toolsets are highly extensible. […]

An Integrated Thinking Environment (ITE) is an app that provides tools to make thinking easier, enabling us to be more innovative. ITEs provide features that take care of some parts of the work of knowledge management and knowledge innovation. In the apps that I’ve seen, these features help us craft personal, contextual ITEs. […]

Navigable. The apps provide methods for quickly and intuitively navigating, reviewing, and collating collected thinking. […]

Organizable. ITEs provide methods for managing thought structure and metadata, including classifying, tagging, summarizing, and visualizing collections of thoughts. […]

Transformative. ITE apps provide methods for defining and refining thoughts, and providing ways of querying, combining, and referencing that thinking. […]

Extensible. A rich feature set and/or plugin ecosystem enabling customizability and extensibility for a variety of specific use cases.

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