An assumption that lies beneath the community of inquiry approach is that there is tremendous power in bringing together a diverse collection of thinkers. Each on of us has a different background, different experiences, and, so too, different strengths when it comes to thinking. Oftentimes a team of thinkers -- working together, sharing insights, and checking each others' biases -- can arrive at a greater depth of understanding.
The I in Jackson's tool kit stands for a cluster of skills. We use the "I' tool when we do hypothetical "If...Then..." thinking. If this happens, we might think, then what might the consequences be? When we engage in this sort of thinking we send out an intellectual scout. Just as a scout goes ahead of an army in order to scope out potential sources of danger, we use this hypothetical "If...then..." thinking to scout out likely consequences. Yes, my son could learn from trial and error that jumping off the roof is a bad thing. But I would much rather he send ahead the scout; if I jump off the roof, then what might happen?