Creativity and ideas

2007

Everybody has the desire to be creative. Everybody ought to want to be creative. Life can be more fun, more interesting and more rewarding with creativity.

According to research, 94 per cent of youngsters consider 'achievement' to be the most important thing in their lives. Achievement requires creativity as a key skill. If there is no creativity then there is only routine and repetition. While these are highly valuable and represent the bulk of our behaviour, creativity is necessary for change, improvement and new directions.

Creativity has become essential in business. The reason for this is that everything else has become a commodity available to all. If your only hope of survival is that your business will continue to be more competent than your rivals, you are in a weak position. You cannot do anything to prevent the competition also developing competence.

When you are inhibited, creativity becomes difficult. But while removing inhibition is not without value, it is not a strong way of developing creativity.

Everyone can learn, practice and use creative skills. But just as some people cook better than others, everyone cannot be equally creative. There are people who play tennis better than others. But that doesn't mean everyone can't learn the skill. So everybody can try to get more creative through practice.

The creative skill of 'lateral thinking' is concerned with changing ideas, perceptions and concepts. Rather than working harder with the same ideas, perceptions and concepts, we look to change them. But 'idea creativity' should not be confused with 'artistic creativity'.

An understanding of such systems is the logical basis for the practical tools of lateral thinking.

Schools and colleges completely underestimate the importance of 'possibility'. Because of the high standard of modern computers, people are beginning to believe that all you have to do is gather data and then analyse it.

This can then form your decisions, your strategies and your policies. It is a very worrying situation, which will see progress grind to a halt. There is a massive need for creativity to interpret data in different ways; to combine data to design a way to deliver value; to know where to seek data; to form speculations and hypotheses, etc, etc.

Because of our culture and habits of thinking, we believe we always have to move towards certainty. But we need to pay just as much attention to possibility because it is very important – it is the key to creativity.

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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.