November 15, 2010

De Bono's Thinking

Some of De Bono’s view on politics, thinking, innovation and complacency.

1. Political Views
Errors in Thinking! - logic was more a matter of communication than of thinking. Men had always worked in groups (hunting parties, was parties etc.) so logic was necessary to get others to go along with you. 90 per cent of the errors in thinking are errors in perception. Yet tradition forces us to believe that thinking is all about logic. In the end logic is about arranging the pieces provided by selective perception (David Perkin, Harvard)

Political thinking among the youth - two rather prevalent modes of political thinking amongst young people. The first mode is the blame mode while the other one is to mimic/imitate adult politicians and to come across with all the usual noises and clichés.

Politicians - In a democracy what do politicians have to do? Do they have to do good thinking or can they get that from advisors and committees? Is their job to present matters well and agreeably? What do people expect from President Obama in the USA? Perhaps they expect inspiration. Perhaps they expect good thinking. Perhaps they expect confidence. The role of a politician is never clearly defined. The task is to get elected and to continue to please people. Is that the same as making progress? Possibly, not.

2. Thinking
..a hundred years from now! - If we take a hundred year perspective from now, what is going to be seen to be important? A lot of things which seem very central and important at the moment will be seen to be trivial and peripheral. What will really matter are the fundamental shifts in human beliefs, human thinking, human behavior and human organization.

Too trapped in traditional philosophy - Every university should have an open-ended faculty of 'thinking' which should be quite separate from philosophy and psychology. In its rush to be considered as a serious science psychology it has focused on measurement. This is almost the exact opposite of operational thinking.

3. Our complacency
Perhaps our real problem is not so much our deficient thinking as I indicated in the last message, but our complacency. We do believe that our thinking is wonderful. Our existing thinking has indeed been wonderful in science and technology - and getting to the moon and beyond. Yet our poor thinking has been responsible for most of the human disasters such as wars conflicts, persecutions etc. The reason is obvious. We rush to use judgment rather than to design the way forward.

4. Design and Analysis
Design is just as important as analysis. Analysis helps us to understand things. Design helps us to deliver value. Design is putting together what we have to deliver the values we want. Without design we just have routines. Some of these are very good and were set up by design in the first place. But routines have no way of changing by themselves. There is a major role for routine but also a place for design.


Edward de Bono is regarded by many to be the leading authority in the world in the field of creative thinking and the direct teaching of thinking as a skill. He has written 62 books with translations into 37 languages and has been invited to lecture in 54 countries. He is the originator of lateral thinking which treats creativity as the behavior of information in a self-organizing information system - such as the neural networks in the brain. From such a consideration arise the deliberate and formal tools of lateral thinking, parallel thinking etc.

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door”

I joined Edward De Bono’s Lateral thinking Full Course not long ago..

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