Thinking Managers

Edward de Bono of describes how dissatisfaction lies at the heart of the motivation for creativity and innovation.

Creativity & How to Achieve It

Three things are necessary for creativity: motivation, thinking skills and habits, and lateral thinking.

Motivation: You need a desire to come up with new ideas and to be creative. If problems arise and need to be solved, that can be a motivation for creativity.
Motivation might also come from believing there is an easier way to do things, which could mean faster or cheaper, etc.
Simplicity is often a key to creativity. Things get increasingly complex over time, so there is a need for a deliberate effort to simplify them – motivation can arise from this.

Thinking skills and habits: It is important to see connections and possibilities when they are not immediately apparent.

Although much neglected in education, 'possibilities' are a crucial aspect of thinking. Information and logic are not sufficient by themselves.

Lateral thinking: Lateral thinking is a deliberate creative tool that can be learnt and used to produce new ideas. Anyone can be taught lateral thinking techniques and use them.

Lateral thinking works best when the above habits of mind have been developed. That makes creativity easier. The techniques alone will work if these habits of mind are absent but they will be far less effective as a result.
Complacency and satisfaction are closely linked but quite different in meaning. Satisfaction tends to suggest that things are going well and you are happy with the status quo. Complacency suggests that you are happy with the status quo and aren’t seeking improvement.

Improvement can come about through dissatisfaction. If you are dissatisfied then you have to look for a way forward. There is a problem to solve or improvements need to be made.

Unfortunately, there are many managers who believe that if there is no problem then there is no need for creativity or creative thinking: that is complacency.

About the author
Edward de Bono is the world's leading authority in the field of creative thinking and the teaching of thinking as a skill.