New ideas needed

Jul 18 2005 by Edward de Bono Print This Article

The majority organisations do not feel they need new ideas because things are going very well. They could be right.

However, complacency is the biggest enemy of progress or growth - even if the complacency is justified. On the other side of the coin there are many organisations who claim: 'We do not need new ideas because we already have all the new ideas we can handle.'

You can never have too many ideas when the finest ones prevail over the weak
You can never have too many ideas when the finest ones prevail over the weak. You can indeed have too many ideas - if none of them are very strong.

It is very difficult for an organisation to admit that it has need for new ideas. Once you realise that, then you have to search for the new idea.

Excellence of computers and telecommunications means that a number of organisations are starting to believe that you only need to collect information, and that the information will then do your thinking for you. The information will make your decisions.

The notion that information is enough halts progress. Here are some specific scenarios where new ideas are especially necessary...

SERIOUS CRISIS: By the time there is a serious crisis it is usually too late to search for new ideas. It is worth looking for new ideas - but only in addition to the other analytical thinking undertaken.

THREATS: A threat has not yet turned into a crisis. A threat would be serious competition from a competitor or from a different country. There is a real need for some new thinking and new ideas. You cannot let the threat develop into a crisis.

STAGNATION: The company is doing quite well. There is no growth and there is no perceived necessity for growth. The motivation for change is not high. There may be a need for creativity to simplify existing procedures and so increase the profit from a stable market.

GROWTH: There are strategies for growth that do not require new ideas. There are classic moves, mergers, acquisitions, take-overs, and so on. There might be a need for some new ideas to look into the future and to foresee further possibilities.

OPPORTUNITIES: There is a serious need for creativity both to perceive the opportunity and to fashion it into profitable shape. Even beyond 'spotting' the opportunity there is a need for new thinking in turning that opportunity into a profitable enterprise.

START-UP: Most start-ups are born from an idea. It is not impossible to find a gap in the market and still do the traditional thing. But there is nevertheless the possibility of a new idea as the basis for the start-up.

A lot of organisations and executives feel threatened by the idea of 'creativity'. They do not like the suggestion that they are not creative enough. But new ideas may be better than existing ideas in some areas. Or they could influence existing ideas.

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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.