Creative thought and skills


Instant judgment is an enemy of creative thought. The basis of traditional brainstorming is that you suspend judgment, withhold judgment and delay judgment.

This is useful but not sufficient because we need to develop a whole range of other modes of judgment.

A key aspect of creative thought is the ability to pinpoint and extract concepts. Once concepts have been extracted, then you can challenge and change them. You can also find different methods of delivering the same concept.

The ability to notice changes is an important creative skill. There could be a shift of values or operations. It is not just about noticing the obvious changes but also the smaller ones, which might be equally significant in the long run.

There could be changes in what is proposed but also in the reaction of people to the changes.

One small change can lead to many changes, sometimes bigger, at points further on. Looking for changes is not just looking at consequences.

There are many other creative skills, such as 'Random Input', one of the basic tools of 'lateral thinking'.

First, you define your focus. Why and where do you want new creative ideas? Then you obtain a Random Word and use it to stimulate new ideas for the defined focus.

If you start from the edges, you can open up paths that would not be apparent from the centre. The Random Word places you at the periphery and as you think your way back to the focus in the centre, you find new ideas.

Don't just look for a connection between the Random Word and the focus, as this does not have any stimulating effect at all. The objective is not to connect the two, but to stimulate new ideas from the Random Word.

Never reject a Random Word. Instead, force yourself to use the original one or you will simply be waiting for an easy connection and you will fail to stimulate any ideas.

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About The Author

Edward de Bono
Edward de Bono

Edward de Bono is a leading authority in the field of creative thinking. Over 35 years after the publication of his first book, "The Mechanism of Mind", the basic principles he outlined are now mainstream thinking in the mathematics of self-organising systems and in the design of neuro-computers. His many subsequent books have been translated into 26 languages.