Lateral Thinking – The Edward De Bono Foundation

Just to be clear from the start, this has nothing to do with the U2 singer Bono. The real superstar I’ll be talking about today is Dr Edward De Bono, a highly intriguing lateral thinker. To inform me and my fellow classmates about this foundation Nigel Newman had the courtesy of coming to DCU to speak at our “Get Creative” DICE module. He firstly explained a bit about The Edward De Bono Foundation; a charity founded in 2007 aimed at teaching creativity and constructive thinking skills. He then got into the details of how to “get creative”. We were all taught how to generate, manage and implement new ideas, by just thinking less.! I know it may seem silly but the psychology behind this proves itself.He explained there are two main ways of thinking; the rabbit and the turtle. The rabbit is the fast thinker the one we use on a daily basis, that does before it thinks. Then you have the turtle. He is more calm, he really takes his time when thinking, something we must all learn to do. By slowing down and even thinking “less” we can generate more new ideas that have the potential to become amazing.!

At the moment, to make life easier our brains remember patterns. These patterns can be as simple as brushing your teeth in the morning or getting on a bus. No one really has to think about how to brush their teeth it’s just something the brain knows how to do. Now these save a lot of time however when you are trying to be creative these patterns become the problem. It’s hard to think “outside the box” when that is what your brain is use to. To Highlight how narrow-minded we can all be Nigel gave us two challenges. First we were asked to position the three separate images so that the riders were on the horses correctly. As you can see from Picture 1 I didn’t get very far. Next each person was given a normal A4 piece of paper. He asks us to cut a hole in the paper big enough to fit our whole body through. Now my best attempt was getting it over my head. After much confusion the answer was so simple. First cut the paper into a swirl then cut a hole at the top and cut through the middle to form a paper strip that was still connected. A ring that is essentially a “hole” in the paper, cleaver..! This really proved to me how hard it is to think creatively.

The main point about his whole talk was lateral thinking. Lateral thinking as defined by http://dictionary.reference.com is a way of solving problems by rejecting traditional methods and employing unorthodox and apparently illogical means. Just for anyone who wants a bit more knowledge on this here is a link to a very informative article I read on the topic. http://lateralaction.com/articles/lateral-thinking/ Nigel then introduced everyone to a new way of team thinking using a De Bono method; The six thinking hats. Each hat tackles a different issue that may arise when dealing with group thinking. The red hat is emotion and intuition. The green is possibilities and alternatives. The blue is the process & overview. The white is information and data. The yellow positivity and benefits. And last the black is all the precautions and negatives. Using all these thinking hats a group can come up with new ideas or manage an existing one. This particular method of teamwork thinking has proven to be highly successful around the world. I’ll just link my personal favourite success story, however the list is endless. http://www.debonoforschools.com/pdfs/Boeing-Union-Six-Hats-Case-Study.pdf

To gain a bit more insight on lateral thinking and creativity I traced these back to their roots. Neurological science, the study of the brain, because this is where our ideas come from. I read Robert Winston’s book The human mind. In this he proposes interesting theories about where creativity develops in the brain. According to him creativity comes from the right side of our brain and our frontal lobes. This is why children are seen as more creative because as we get older these become congested with more and more patterns essentially inhibiting creativity. However every person has the ability to train their brain to accomplish extraordinary things. Creativity is not something you are born with, it’s something you learn, develop and train. So therefore in today’s busy world there is o room for our old primitive reactive minds full of engrims that inhibit the production of new ideas. What I take away with me is a deeper knowledge on creativity and it’s origins. The key to creativity is to train your brain.!

Picture 1

The goal is to position the riders correctly on the horses

Here is the link to the book I referenced:

http://books.google.ie/books/about/The_Human_Mind.html?id=mK4Npi6d3zQC&redir_esc=y

I hope you’ve found this post engaging please feel free to comment. That’s all for now I’ll leave you with the quote of the day :

” The future depends on what you do today” – Mahatma Ghandi

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