The brain is designed to allow incoming information to form itself into routine patterns. Without this life would be impossible. With eleven items of clothing to put on in the morning, it would take seventy six years to go through all the ways of getting dressed – spending just one minute on each.
It is the same with organisations. People working within an organisation become aware of the idiom, the culture and the guiding frames for that organisation. That is why they perform well. It is very difficult for executives to think outside this box. What is worse is that when someone makes a conscious effort to jump out of the box, they usually jump too far.
It is even more difficult to think of an idea which is only slightly outside of the box. Of course, executives should learn the specific thinking tools of Lateral Thinking™. These can be very powerful. Use of just one tool generated 21,000 new ideas in a workshop in one afternoon. There is also another approach which I shall outline in my next message.
Edward de Bono
10th May 2009
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