"Wealth will increasingly be defined by our ability to go offline whenever we want." - Fernando Gros
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Blog // Thoughts
March 23, 2007

Edward De Bono In Hong Kong

HK-everyday064.jpg Originally uploaded by fernandogros. Wednesday saw me in a day long seminar with the yoda of creative thinking – Edward De Bono. It would be foolish to underestimate his impact on my thinking, since I was exposed to the CoRT programme at a young age and at several stages in my life since, I’ve […]




HK-everyday064.jpg

Originally uploaded by fernandogros.

Wednesday saw me in a day long seminar with the yoda of creative thinking – Edward De Bono. It would be foolish to underestimate his impact on my thinking, since I was exposed to the CoRT programme at a young age and at several stages in my life since, I’ve engaged in his approaches (most significantly with the six thinking hats).

The first thing that stands out for me is how low-tech De Bono’s approach to presenting his material. He sits at a table, writing on an overhead projector and using an egg timer and plastic whistle to co-ordinate the participant exercises. He chooses his provocation words by reference to a laminated list and the second hand on his watch.

On of De Bono’s consistent claims is that many schools of thought, philosophy, law, business promote very inefficient approaches to problem-solving because they proceed by argument. The problem here is that argument often involves scoring points, proving the way someone else is in error and focussing on difference. It’s the 5% phenomenon, we focus on the 5% we disagree on, rather than the 95% upon which we agree.

This always pulls me back to theology as a discipline and church as a practice – to what extent are our limitations in creativity, in practical problem solving, systemic – a consequence of the established patterns of thinking and debating?

I’ve employed De Bono’s ideas, especially the Six Hats and PO (Lateral Thinking) in a number of church situations (mostly covertly) and results have always been revolutionary and productive. I don’t believe it is because there is any “magic” in De Bono’s approach. It’s just that by breaking some rigid patterns it opens up creative space.

Next week I’ll open up a few more of the ideas De Bono shared in the seminar and some of thoughts they provoked for me. But for now, I’d be interested to hear if anyone has some experience with his ideas…

[tags] Creative Thinking, Edward De Bono [/tags]

Responses
Shane 16 years ago

Hey Fernando,

I’ve never heard of this guy. But at your commendation, I bookmarked his website. Any advice on where to step into his thinking?

I can relate to the 5%/95% idea. I wonder what we might accomplish in the church if we did spend our time on the 95%.

Cheers,
Shane

Fernando Gros 16 years ago

In terms of practical value – “Six Thinking Hats” is the best place to start. The book is a little wordy, but easy to get through. It’s straightforward to apply the ideas to team meetings/brainstorming sessions, etc.

He also has a new book coming out in April called “How to Have Creative Ideas,” which revists the Lateral Thinking approach with some new concepts. The original Lateral Thinking book is pretty old now. The core of the new book is the provocation approach to creative thinking, which is a pretty powerful and easy to understand tool for generating new ideas either by yourself or in a group.

Tim Abbott 16 years ago

Thanks for posting about this – it’s a helpful reminder.
We’ve used the six thinking hats and “po” statements in the past with groups trying to explore missional thinking to young people. Among youth leader types and young people themselves the “po’ thinking technique produces some brilliant, creative and often hilarious ideas which break people out of their preconceived ideas. A simple method but very effective if led well.

Fernando Gros 16 years ago

Tim thanks for the comment and example of using this stuff!

It’s interesting that you mention humour, because across his work De Bono keeps coming back time and again to the links between humour (what makes jokes funny) and creative thinking, especially provocation.

Margaret 16 years ago

I’ve heard De Bono speak, seen him using the OHP (I like the low tech but not sure about the amount of transparency rolls he must go through from a sustainability point of view!) and used CoRT and 6 thinking hats (have to be careful how you use this – I once saw it done and it was SO patronising!) in a professional context. Would love to have the opportunity to use some of the stuff in church. Great to hear you’ve found it worked well. Wonder why some churches can be so slow to try out and adopt good ways of congregational particiaption?

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