Thinking Managers

Edward de Bono of says that you can never have too many new ideas, as long as they are good.

Ideas – New & Improved

Far too many companies do not feel they need new ideas because things are going very well. They could be correct. But complacency represents the biggest enemy of progress or growth - even if the complacency is justified. Alternatively there are many organisations who claim: 'We do not need new ideas because we already have all the new ideas we can handle.'

You cannot have too many ideas when the finest ones prevail over the weak. You can in fact have too many ideas if none of them are very strong.

It is very difficult for a business to admit that it has need for new ideas. Once you realise that, then you are duty-bound to search for the new idea.

Excellence of computers and telecommunications means that a number of companies are beginning to believe that you only need to collect information, and that the information will then do your thinking for you; that information will make your decisions.

The concept that information is enough halts progress. The following are some specific scenarios where new ideas are especially necessary...

SERIOUS CRISIS: By the time there is a serious crisis it is normally too late to search for new ideas. It is worth looking for new ideas but only in conjunction with the other analytical thinking undertaken.

THREATS: A threat has not yet mutated into a crisis. A threat would be serious competition from a competitor or from another country. There is a real need for some fresh thinking and new ideas. You cannot let the threat turn into a crisis.

STAGNATION: The company is doing OK. There isn't growth and there isn't perceived necessity for growth. There isn't motivation for change. There may be a need for creative thinking to simplify existing procedures and so increase the profit from a stable market.

GROWTH: There are strategies for growth that do not need new ideas. There are classic moves, mergers, buy-outs, take-overs, and so on. There might be a need for some new ideas to look into the future and to look for further possibilities.

OPPORTUNITIES: There is a serious need for creative thinking both to perceive the opportunity and to fashion it into profitable shape. Even beyond 'spotting' the opportunity there is a need for new thinking in realising the potential of that opportunity turning into a profitable enterprise.

START-UP: Most start-ups begin with an idea. It is not impossible to spot a gap in the market and do the traditional thing. But there is still the possibility of a new idea as the foundation for the start-up.

A lot of organisations and executives feel uncomfortable with the idea of 'creativity'. They do not like it being suggested that they are not creative enough. However, new ideas may be better than existing ideas in some areas, or they could influence existing ideas.

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.