Thinking Managers

Edward de Bono of argues that the search for new ideas should be constant – even when things are going well.

Ideas for All

How can you be sure if you need an idea? There aren’t many people who actually feel that they need new ideas. Things are kept going by complacency and routine. New ideas are thought of as a risk.
Improvement is usually reserved for the solving of problems. If someone sees something is wrong, then they look for improvement to put it right.

The pressure of competition can be the best motivator for seeking new ideas. The fear of being left behind can be a spur. Therefore, change is necessary, and change means new ideas.
It is important to guard against complacency. If something is seen as adequate, then you are not going to set about improving things or taking the risk of change.

It is rare for someone to say: ‘Everything is fine and going OK but we can do better and improve.’
Sometimes people really do ‘need’ new ideas, and there are situations where new ideas are needed badly. But there are many more situations where a new idea would be beneficial, yet there is no apparent need or there is a fear of risk.

Value is the key. Any defined objective is nothing more than a package of the values you want to achieve or deliver. If you can define the values you want to achieve and deliver, then you will have a much better chance of finding a new idea.

Try this: sit down and define a need for a new idea. You might want a new idea in a particular area. You might want a new idea to deliver a specific value. You might want a new idea to solve a problem or to achieve a specific objective. Try not to make the defined need too broad - for example, ‘I want to make more money’, or ‘to be happier’.

As with any form of exercise, what really matters is making the effort.

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.