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Edward de Bono

Edward de Bono is regarded by many as the leading

authority in the field of creative thinking, innovation
and the direct teaching of thinking as a skill. He is
equally renowned for his development of the Six
Thinking Hats® technique and the Direct Attention
Thinking Tools™ (D.A.T.T.™) framework.
Edward de Bono is the originator of the concept -
and formal tools - of Lateral Thinking, which is now
a part of language enjoying an entry in the Oxford
Dr. de Bono was born in Malta. He was a Rhodes
Scholar at Oxford, holds an M.A. in psychology and
physiology from Oxford, a D. Phil in Medicine, a
Ph.D. from Cambridge, a D. Des (Doctor of Design)
from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology; an LL.D. from Dundee. He
holds professorships at the Universities of Malta, Pretoria, Dublin City
University, and the University of Central England. The New Univeristy of
Advancing Technology in Phoenix, Arizona appointed Dr. de Bono Da Vinci
Professor of Thinking in May 2005.
His techniques and work focus on improving the elements that constitute a
perception and the formal design and application of the frameworks required
towards innovative and creative action. One may easily say that all the
recent (past thirty years) focus on thinking, on creativity, on innovation, on
frameworks beyond 'x-storming' etc has taken its lead from Edward de
Bono's work.
Whereas Rene Descartes propounded "cogito ergo sum' (I think therefore I
am), Edward de Bono proposes 'ago ergo erigo' (I act therefore I
construct/ act). It is not enough to sit, (talk) and think: Action, together
with an intentional design of the thought process, is required to
constructively advance towards results and change.
He has written 70 book with translations into 40 languages and has been
invited to lecture in 58 countries.
His methods are now mandatory on the school curriculum in many countries
and widely used in others. These countries include Australia, New Zealand,
Canada, Argentina, U.K., Italy, United Arab Emirates, Ireland, Spain,
Portugal, The Baltic States, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Singapore,
Malaysia, India, China, U.S.A., Russia. It is compulsory in all schools in
Venezuela. In Malta there is a model show-case for the de Bono Thinking
Tools within the national Education Department.
The appeal of Dr. de Bono's work is its simplicity and practicality. It can be
used by four year olds and by senior executives; by Down Syndrome
youngsters and Nobel Laureates.
His instruction in thinking has been sought by many organisations: Boeing,
BT (UK), Nokia (Finland), Mondadori (Italy), Sanofi (France), Rolex
(Switzerland), Total (France), Siemens (Germany), 3M (Germany), Ericsson
(Sweden), NTT (Japan), GM, Kraft (Switzerland), Nestle (Switzerland),
Bouygues Construction (France), Bosch (Germany), Goldman Sachs, Ernst &
Young and many others.
Dr. de Bono acts as advisor to various Governments, cities, regional
Governments and global organisations dealing on a macro level with diverse
topics including economy, unemployment, social policy, recidivism, pensions,
health care, finance, transportation, education, conflict resolution, judicial
processes, foresight scenario design etc.
Dr. de Bono was the Chairman of the Council of Young Enterprise Europe
which had a membership of 1,500,000 youngsters across Europe, Israel and
Russia who set up mini-businesses whilst at school.
Dr. de Bono established the World Centre for New Thinking which acts as
a platform and channel to make visible New Thinking from any source.
Democracies and representative organisations, due to their nature, cannot
put forward new ideas. By definition "new ideas" are not representative of
existing thinking. They are therefore high risk. Such organisations may be
perfectly capable of having new ideas but cannot risk putting them forward.
The specific function of the World Centre is to focus directly on new ideas
and new possibilities: "hypothesis development."

CoRT Thinking Lessons

CoRT stands for Cognitive Research Trust. The programme was designed for
schools and is now widely in use throughout the world: Australia, Canada
New Zealand, Japan, Malaysia, Malta, Singapore, South Africa, Italy, UK,
Ireland, U.S.A. Venezuela, Philippines, Russia etc.
Research has been done by Michele de Bene at the University of Verona,
Professor John Edwards at James Cook University, Australia and research is
ongoing by Sandra Dingli at the University of Malta in collaboration with a
team of teacher-researchers from the Department of Education in Malta.
There is a specific conference room on my web site for teachers to discuss
their experiences (www.edwdebono.com).
The majority of mistakes in ordinary thinking (outside technical matters) are
mistakes in perception. Our traditional emphasis on logic does little for
perception. If the perception is inadequate no amount of excellence in logic
will make up for that deficiency.
Perception is a matter of directing attention. If you are not looking in the
right direction it does not matter how clever you are, you will not see what
you need to see.
The terms 'right' and 'left' are spatial directions. North, south, east, west are
also spatial directions. You can ask someone to 'look left' or to 'look south.'
That instruction indicates a 'direction.' You look in that direction and see
what you see.
The CoRT programme is divided into six parts of ten lessons each. The first
part deals with 'broadening' perception. The fourth part introduces specific
In the first part the 'attention-directing tools' include: PMI, for a systematic
scan of the Plus points, the Minus points and the Interesting points; OPV, for
attention to Other People's views; C&S for a deliberate focus on the
consequences and sequel of a choice or action. The acronyms are necessary
in order for the 'instruction' to exist in the mind as an 'operating concept'.
Mere attitudes have no identity. These very simple tools are very powerful in
their effect and can totally change initial judgements and perceptions.
The programme has been in use since 1972 with different cultures, ages and
abilities. It has been used in Gifted Education programmes and also with
Down's Syndrome Children (by Susan Mackie). I myself have taught some of
the tools to 5,300 children from all sorts of schools, one morning in a sports
stadium in Johannesburg and to 2,400 school children one morning in Malta.
David Perkins, professor of Education at Harvard University has this to say
about the CoRT programme in his book Outsmarting the IQ (NY, Free Press,
'In designing for the practical teaching of thinking Edward de Bono
repeatedly emphasizes the importance of robust material that can be put
into place easily. This is certainly one of the features of the CoRT
'CoRT fairly transparently addresses the thinking defaults identified in the
previous chapter: hasty, fuzzy and sprawling thinking.'
'The four intelligence traps are vast; they make room for all kinds of
mishaps and a diversity of sorts of thinking. Nonetheless, CoRT plainly
touches on all four.'
'Intelligence can be taught by CoRT.'
These comments are particularly relevant since it was Professor Perkin's
work which showed the huge importance of perception in thinking.

Language And Human Evolution

• Language has been a most important step in human evolution.
• Language is now the biggest barrier to further evolution.

• This situation is not unusual in self-organising systems which reach

temporary states of "local equilibrium."

• Language is an encyclopaedia of ignorance. Words get formed and

frozen into permanence at a relative stage of ignorance. That forces us
to perceive the world in an old fashioned way.

• Perception is by far the most important part of thinking. Most errors of

thinking are errors of perception. If perception is faulty then no
amount of logical excellence will give a useful answer.

Lateral Thinking
Creativity (in terms of new ideas and new perceptions) is not a mystical gift
but a learnable skill. The formal and deliberate processes of lateral thinking
are all based on a consideration of the behaviour of information in a self-
organising system, such as the nerve networks of the human brain - for
which we should be most grateful. They also form asymmetric patterns: the
route from A to B is not the same as the route from B to A.
The formal techniques of lateral thinking include: provocation and
movement; challenge; concept fans and concept triangles; random entry,
etc. They are so powerful that in one afternoon on company (under the
guidance of Carol Ferguson in South Africa) generated 21,000 ideas using
just one technique. In Singapore, Peter and Linda Low ran a workshop from
which came eight patents.
For formal training in the method, please contact distributors listed under

Parallel Thinking - The Six Thinking Hats®

This framework is now very widely used around the world. It is used by top
executives at some of the world's largest corporations (Siemens, Bosch,
British Telecom, Prudential, ABB, 3M, Ericsson, Motorola, Nokia etc.) and by
four year-olds in school (Clayfield College, Brisbane, and the Low's School in
Singapore). Simon Batchelor, on an aid mission to Cambodia, found himself
teaching the framework to Khmer Villagers to get them involved in Water-
drilling projects.
It is an alternative to traditional argument and is far more constructive. At
any moment all thinkers involved are thinking in the same 'direction.' The
direction is indicated by one or other of the six coloured hats. For example,
the White Hat requires an attention to information: what do we have; what
do we need; what is missing. The Green Hat demands a focus on 'creative
effort.' When the Green Hat is in use everyone makes a creative effort: new
ideas, alternatives, modifications of an idea, possibilities, provocations, etc.
Experience has shown that Six Hat thinking is much more powerful and
constructive than argument or discussion. It is also very much faster.
Meeting times are reduced to one quarter or even one tenth.
The Six Hats method gets rid of egos, which are such a problem in
traditional thinking. It is no longer a matter of defending an idea or attacking
an idea. If you want to show off you do so be performing very well under
each hat.
The Six Hat method is based on a consideration of how the brain chemicals
differ when we are being cautious and when we are being positive. This
chemical pre-sensitization is a key part of brain function. You cannot
sensitize in all directions at once - so there is an absolute need to separate
out the modes of thinking.
For formal training in the method, please contact distributors listed under

Six Action Shoes

The starting-point for this framework was a lunch in London with some
senior police officers. It was difficult to train people to deal with a variety of
situations: paperwork; looking after a lost child; traffic duty; armed crime;
domestic disputes; major disasters and crises, etc.
The Six Action Shoes separate action into six basic styles: such as 'routine
action'; 'crisis action'; 'entrepreneurial action', etc. The action pattern for
each style can be learned. It then becomes a matter, in training, of
identifying the style - when you have to, you know what to do.
Unlike the Six Hats the Action Shoes can be combined. There may be a crisis
situation with high human values.
A formal training course is being prepared.

The de Bono Code™

Suppose you were not allowed to use the word 'tomato'. If you wanted a
tomato you would have to describe it.
• it is round and red
• it could fit into the hand
• much used in salads
• the juice makes a good drink
• makes a sauce for spaghetti
• often grown in greenhouses
• may be dried in the sun
How much easier to have the word 'tomato'.
Suppose you could not use the word table:
• a horizontal platform
• raised above the ground so you could sit on a chair and use the
• used for eating off
• usually has four legs but sometimes just one central leg.
• to be found in houses
How much easier to have the word 'table.'
Words are codes which allow us to unlock and communicate complex
situations. We could indeed describe such situations but that is very different
from 'preceiving' them instantly.
We do have words for 'things' but language is poor in words for complex
situations. The fact that we can describe situations with lots of words but
that is not the same as perception.
So the "de Bono Code Book" sets out eighteen different codes for complex
situations. There are negotiating codes, youth codes, meeting codes, project
status codes, travel codes, relationship codes etc.
It may be difficult for a youngster to say to his or her parents: "Mum, I am
in deep trouble. I need your help and advice. But I do not want the usual
sermons, preaching and 'I told you so'. Can we work on this together? Can
we discuss it? Can you help me?"
Some youngsters might find that awkward to say. How much easier to say:
"Mum, I have an 8/1 here."
There are 257 codes which become an 'inter-language' for international use
(among other benefits such as compression for m-commerce).
See debonocode.com