Values and evaluation

Apr 12 2005 by Edward de Bono Print This Article

Enjoying and delivering our values is the purpose of thinking. However, we must ask what those values are.

There is almost as much lip service given to values as there is to creativity and innovation. Because these things are important they are talked about but it is too much trouble to act on them, and being seen to consider all values is what matters.

Values can be vague and not always well defined. We know what they are and can recognise them but searching for them is not easy because they are not concrete.

If a person who is born blind suddenly regains the use of their eyes, then it takes quite a while for that person to see things. The brain needs to get used to recognising shapes and forms. It is the same with values: if we don't have a clear picture of the different values, it is hard to see them.

But it is not sufficient to see values Ė we also need to talk about them and compare the different values in alternative courses of action. The new framework of the Six Value Medals gives us a way of focusing on values and talking about them.

The Gold Medal is for 'human values', those which matter to people. They can be positive or negative. Being ignored is negative, while being appreciated is positive.

The Silver Medal is for 'organisational values', usually relating to a business. Survival is the most obvious Silver Medal value.

The Steel Medal is for 'quality values', relating to products or services. Quality means fulfilling the desired or offered purpose.

The Glass Medal is for innovation, creativity and change.

The Wood Medal is for ecological values in the broadest sense Ė not just nature.

The Brass Medal is for perceptual values because brass looks like gold but is not.

Among the advantages of using such a perceptual framework is that it becomes possible to lay out the values in a 'value map', meaning comparative values may be seen at a glance. We get a clear focus on the various values and see where they are strong and where they are weak or even negative.

more articles

About The Author

Edward de Bono
Edward de Bono

Edward de Bono (1933-2021) was 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.