Lateral Thinking (Edward de Bono)

There are 4 types of "thinking tools" defined in Edward de Bono's Lateral Thinking: The Power of Provocation manual

  • Idea generating tools: Break current thinking patterns.
  • Focus tools: Broaden where to search for new ideas.
  • Harvest tools: Ensure more value is received from idea generating output.
  • Treatment tools: Consider real-world constraints, resources, and support

Idea generating tools
1. Random Entry Idea Generating
Choose an object at random, or a noun from a dictionary, and associate that with the area you are thinking about.

2. Provocation Idea Generating
Choose to use any of the provocation techniques - wishful thinking, exaggeration, reversal, escape, or arising. Create a list of provocations and then use the most outlandish ones to move your thinking forward to new ideas.

3. Challenge Idea Generating
A tool which is designed to ask the question "WHY?", in a non threatening way, why something exists, why it is done the way it is. The result is a very clear understanding of WHY? which naturally leads to fresh new ideas. The goal is to be able to challenge anything at all, not just items which are problems.

For example you could challenge the handles on coffee cups. The reason for the handle seems to be that the cup is often too hot to hold directly. Perhaps coffee cups could be made with insulated finger grips, or there could be separate coffee cup holders similar to beer holders.

4. Concept Fan Idea Generating
Ideas carry out concepts. This tool systematically expands the range and number of concepts in order to end up with a very broad range of ideas to consider.

Focus, harvesting and treatment tools

They round out the lateral thinking tool kit. It's not enough to just generate ideas. We have to do something productive with them in order to build value. These tools do that.

I like the idea of random entry idea and the challenge idea generating. In problem solving, we are too focus and too rush in finding ideas that make things work. This keeps us not to think about irrelevant, probably useless, and random stuff. However, the irrelevant, probably useless, random ideas may be a good source for creativity. Their relevance and usefulness can actually be evaluated in a later step. Nice idea, Edward de Bono!

Some Edward de Bono's books:

No comments:

Post a Comment