5 Things I Learned from Edward de Bono

Last week, in a stroke of luck, I won a ticket from Flokka (online blog community for women in business) to see Edward de Bono speak at a half-day seminar.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, Edward de Bono is a very well-known ‘Maltese physician, author, inventor and consultant who’s the originator of the term ‘lateral thinking” (Wikipedia). He is best known for coming up with creative ways to approach the same problem and tricks to sharpen your thinking.

Now, there’s only so much he could cover in a few hours, so really I felt he just scratched the surface of a bunch of his ideas. Probably the most useful part was all the exercises he had us do as a group on each table, which really worked to emphasize the different ways to view and think about a topic or problem.

I’ve skimmed over my notes and these are the 5 main points that I took away from his seminar:

  • Creative thinking is a learned skill, not a talent
  • Always sell the benefits – not the novelty – of your idea
  • Understand the values of the people already buying your product and you’re ahead of the market (In response to my question – what question should a small but solid brand be asking itself to draw out the characteristic that makes it exceptional in a competitive market?)
  • 90% of the mistakes in thinking – outside technical matters – are mistakes of perception. The rest are mistakes of logic.

The final participant question of the day was:

What do you see as the next phase for us i.e. agricultural, industrial and so forth?

To which Dr de Bono’s response was:

  • Complete robotization – but we’d have to teach them some manners…