Summry: Serious Creativity

Edward De BonoFollwing is my quick summary of an article by Edward de Bono fond at the following address:

There are far too many practitioners out there who believe that creativity is just brainstorming and being free to suggest crazy ideas. I intend to show that this is inadequate.

Brainstorming was designed for use in the advertising industry

Creativity does not have to be a group activity

Judgment, Patterns and Creativity

instant judgment is the enemy of creativity
all we have to do is delay judgment in order to be creative

if we suspend judgment, feel innocent and childlike, and try to use the right side of the brain will certainly be more creative than before, but not very much more.

We will be able to use our not very powerful natural creativity

The Logic of Creativity

creative idea will always be logical in hindsight.

in a passive information system, an idea that is logical in hindsight is also accessible to logic in foresight. But this is totally untrue in an active, self-organizing system such as the brain

creativity is not a natural process in the brain, it goes against the natural process of following patterns.

Practical Lateral Thinking Techniques

Thinking Hats system.

  • There are six metaphorical hats. The thinker can put one on or take one off to indicate the type of thinking that is being used
    • White Hat: “Let’s drop the arguments and proposals and look at the data base.”
    • Red Hat: allows the thinker to put forward an intuition without any need to justify it
    • Black Hat: used to point out why a suggestion does not fit the facts
    • Yellow Hat: finds reasons why something will work and why it will offer benefits.
    • Green Hat: creativity, alternatives, proposals, what is interesting, provocations, and changes
    • Blue Hat: looks not at the subject itself but at the thinking about the subject
  • An individual can ask another individual to put on or take off a particular color of hat
  • An individual can express his or her thoughts under the protection of one of the hats

The Logic of Provocation
PO – provocation operation – serves to take us out of the comfort of an existing pattern

“put the building on its side to measure it’s height”

Methods to create provocation: escape, reversal, exaggeration, distortion, and wishful thinking

The apparently crazy idea is not an end point, but only the first stage. It is what happens next that really makes all the difference.

Formal ways of getting lateral movement

  • Extract a principle or feature and work forward from that.
  • Focus on the difference.
  • Look at the moment-to-moment effect of putting the idea into practice.
  • Focus on the positive aspects.
  • Figure under what circumstances there would be direct value.

The random word
simplest of all creative techniques

  • Pick a slip of paper out of a pile of slips on each of which there is a word


  • think of a page number in a dictionary
  • think of a position of the word on that page
  • continue to the first noun which will then be your random word

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