Thinking Managers

Edward de Bono of says that complacency is the true enemy of creativity.

Creativity as a Skill

Creative thinking is a skill, just as mathematics is a skill.  Once you have learnt the processes and tools of lateral thinking, you can use them formally and deliberately to produce new ideas.  In one workshop in South Africa, 21,000 new ideas were generated in a single afternoon using just one of the tools of lateral thinking.

Anyone can learn these skills.  I have 1,200 trainers worldwide who can teach these skills.  Because it is a skill, some people will be better at creative thinking than others.  However, it is possible for anyone to acquire a useful level of aptitude.

Creativity is often discouraged because it carries risk and uncertainty.  Also, there aren’t many people who have developed the skill of creativity.

There are people who recognise the need for creativity but perhaps feel they have no need for new ideas.  Some people think they have all the ideas they can handle or they believe new ideas would distract or disturb them.

This attitude is sometimes completely justified, but never as a permanent position.  New ideas can help to make processes simpler.  They can also save money and lead you to alternative routes.  New ideas do not have to be restricted to new services or products.
Someone might believe they are perfectly capable of having all the new ideas they need.

Perhaps someone is indeed very creative but there is no limit to creativity.  You can always have more ideas.  They might be directly usable themselves, or perhaps they will trigger further ideas.

Someone might believe there could be important new ideas but these would be so attractive that they would distract them from what they were doing and they don’t want to be tempted.

This view might be valid if that person cannot focus on what they are doing.  New ideas are a bonus rather than an obligation.
Most executives are concerned with keeping things just as they are and dealing problems when they come up.  They believe that continuity and problem-solving are sufficient.

So where does change come from?  You can copy ideas, borrow them or steal them.  Or your own thinking can prompt change.
Change usually happens as a result of reacting to circumstances and information.  Very rarely is change driven by a will or motivation to improve.  Reward is usually given for ‘doing well’, but not ‘doing better’.  While competence and expertise are valued, creativity is neglected.

Complacency, rather than negativity, is the true enemy of creativity.  The result of creativity is the belief that things are fine as they are and change is not needed or perhaps even dangerous.
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.