Sunday, June 28, 2009

The 3 Ages of a Human Being (de Bono @ the ICOT)

Friday was the second time I watched Edward de Bono speak. He's not the most passionate speaker in the world but the minutes fly by when he presents. His visual language is pure captivation.

De Bono didn't say anything he hasn't been saying the past 20 years. The talk revolved around the importance of perception, the inadequacy of argument, the benefits of 'parallel thinking' and the need to design new ways forward via the use of lateral thinking.

Key ideas:
  • We need a new word, 'ebne' which means: Excellent, But Not Enough (de Bono applied this to our traditional tools of thought, which have come down to us from the GG3, the Greek Gang of 3 - Socrates, Plato and Aristotle)

  • 90% of errors made around the world are errors of perception (rarely to do with knowledge or truth, e.g. a small boy is frequently asked to choose between a BIG $1 coin and a small $2 coin and he always choose the $1 coin, creating laughter among the older boys; when someone advised him that the smaller coin was actually worth more, the small boy politely agreed but said that if he has selected the $2 coin he wouldn't have earned as much money! The boy had perception, the others seemed only concerned about truth)

  • Truth / Judgment, Logic and Argument were tools promoted by the Church to combat heresy, resulting in herself being rather poor at Perception, Creativity and Design

  • Argument is poor thinking because it's largely negative, anti-explorative, inefficient and the two parties tend to focus on the "worst 5%" of their opponent's point of view
  • If we can change perception, we can change emotion, thus changing behaviour (ditto with NLP which seeks to change perception by manipulating physiology and internal representations)

  • An idea for the Israel / Palestine issue: All nations supporting Israel should provide $3 billion in aid to Palestine with the caveat that for every rocket fired into Israel, Palestine would have to give Israel $50 million

  • The yellow hat (among the six thinking hats) promotes "value-sensitivity" - we may reject an idea but the more creative among us would still hold on to and explore the helpful concepts inherent in an impractical suggestion

  • Every creative idea is logical in hindsight, but invisible in foresight"(!!), thus the need for lateral thinking (e.g. challenge, provocation, concept-exploration, etc.)
De Bono ended with a delightful look at the three ages of a human being. Ages 0-5 is the age of WHY. 6-11 is the age of WHY NOT. And age 12-80?

The age of BECAUSE.

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