Thinking Managers

Edward de Bono of points out that better thinking should be considered a necessity when times are hard, not a luxury.

Creative thinking could help during the downturn

Creative thinking is particularly important when financial conditions are tough. The present economic crisis is about 30% real, arising from unmanageable toxic securities. But in addition to this is 50% panic and fear as a result of media hype. The remaining 20% represents ‘game playing’ – in other words, certain people or organisations are using the situation to their advantage.

For instance, it might be that a firm had wanted to sack 10,000 staff for some time, but it wouldn’t have been so easy to do it at other times because the share price could be severely depressed as a result. The recession offers an excuse, however, and the layoffs become much easier, particularly when other companies are doing likewise.

Regardless of the economic conditions, better thinking should never be considered a luxury. On the contrary, better thinking should be regarded as a necessity when times are hard.

Creativity must be included in this better thinking. It is vital to use creative thinking if you want to look at things in a different way and open up new perceptions. During difficult times it often pays to look at problems as opportunities.

This is never easy, though, because our minds are trained to perceive things in the most instant and obvious way – and frequently, this is sufficient.

Design also requires creativity. There are times when you need to design a way forward. You can analyse the past but the future needs to be designed.

You shouldn’t use creative thinking to replace information and other types of thinking; you should use it in addition to other ways of thinking. Creative thinking becomes more important in certain times, such as a challenging economic climate, because solutions are more difficult to find.

Creative thinking works well if the focus is well defined. The focus might be broad and general or it might be narrow and tight. Creativity can be applied to the focus itself and also to the methods of delivering the required values and objectives.

Creative thinking is often thought of as a group process. While there is nothing wrong with this approach, an individual can sit down with a focus and a lateral thinking tool kit and come up with new ideas completely by themselves. They can then talk about these ideas in a group situation and develop them further.

Recessions create opportunities – be sure you don’t miss them!
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.