Edward de Bono

Change Management, Creativity, Innovation, Personal Development

Travels from United Kingdom

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Edward de Bono Profile

Holding an unrivalled position at the forefront of thinking methodology, Edward de Bono has arguably had a greater influence on the ways in which we “think about thinking” than any other figure of his age.

Dr. de Bono enjoyed a glittering academic career, beginning with an MD from the University of Malta (his birthplace) then moving to the University of Oxford where he took an honors degree in psychology and physiology followed by a D.Phil in medicine. He also has been awarded a Ph.D. from Cambridge University, and has held teaching appointments at Oxford, London, Cambridge and Harvard universities.

What is unusual about Dr. de Bono is that his philosophies and methodologies are as applicable to a junior school classroom as they are to the senior management of a giant corporation. His work is used in classrooms across the globe (in Venezuela, for example, it is a legal requirement that all school children spend an hour a week studying his programs). In Europe the continent’s largest corporation, Siemens (370,000 employees), decided, after Dr. de Bono spoke to their senior management team, to teach his work across the entire corporation.

Dr. de Bono’s most notable contributions have been to the field of creative thinking. He invented the term “lateral thinking” which is now universally accepted and has found its way into the Oxford English dictionary. His lectures explain how the modern world requires creative and constructive thinking in ways very different to the traditional linear thought processes of the past.

The author of many bestselling books, presenter of two TV series and enormously in demand everywhere from the Pentagon to the United Nations, Dr. de Bono has been given a plethora of awards, including the Maltese Order of Merit, that nation’s highest honor.

  • View Extended/Alternate Bio

    Edward de Bono is regarded as the leading international authority in the field of creative thinking, innovation, and the direct teaching of thinking as a skill. He is the originator of the term “Lateral Thinking” which has an official entry in the Oxford English Dictionary, and is the creator of the extremely popular “Six Thinking Hats” concept.

    Edward de Bono was born in Malta in 1933. He attended St Edward’s College, Malta, during World War II and then the University of Malta where he qualified in medicine. He proceeded, as a Rhodes Scholar, to Christ Church, Oxford, where he gained an honours degree in psychology and physiology and then a D.Phil in medicine. He also holds a Ph.D from Cambridge and an MD from the University of Malta. He has held appointments at the universities of Oxford, London, Cambridge and Harvard.

    Dr. de Bono is one of the very few people in history who can be said to have had a major impact on the way we think. In many ways he could be said to be the best known thinker internationally.

    He has written numerous books with translations into 34 languages (all the major languages plus Hebrew, Arabic, Bahasa, Urdu, Slovene, Turkish etc).

    He has been invited to lecture in 52 countries around the world.

    In the University of Buenos Aires five faculties use his books as required reading. In Venezuela, by law, all school children must spend an hour a week on his programmes. In Singapore, 102 secondary schools use his work. In Malaysia, the senior science schools have been using his work for ten years. In the U.S.A., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland and the UK there are thousands of schools using Dr. de Bono’s programmes for the teaching of thinking. At the International Thinking Meeting in Boston (1992) He was given an award as a key pioneer in the direct teaching of thinking in schools.

    In 1988 he was awarded the first Capire prize in Madrid for a significant contribution to humankind.

    What is unique about Dr. de Bono is the response to his work across an unusually wide spectrum.

    At the special request of the delegates Dr. de Bono was asked to address the Commonwealth Law Conference in Vancouver in August 1996 (2,300 senior lawyers, judges etc from 52 Commonwealth countries and other invited countries such as China). This followed an address which was regarded as the highlight of a previous Conference held in Auckland.

    Dr. de Bono has worked with many of the major corporations in the world such as IBM, Du Pont, Prudential, AT&T, British Airways, British Coal, NTT(Japan), Ericsson(Sweden), Total(France), etc. The largest corporation in Europe, Siemens (370,000 employees) is teaching his work across the whole corporation, following Dr. de Bono’s talk to the senior management team. When Microsoft held their first ever marketing meeting, they invited Edward de Bono to give the keynote address in Seattle to the five hundred top managers.

    Edward de Bono’s special contribution has been to take the mystical subject of creativity and, for the first time in history, to put the subject on a solid basis. He has shown that creativity was a necessary behaviour in a self-organising information system. His key book, The Mechanism of Mind was published in 1969. In it he showed how the nerve networks in the brain formed asymmetric patterns as the basis of perception. The leading physicist in the world, Professor Murray Gell Mann, said of this book that it was ten years ahead of mathematicians dealing with chaos theory, non-linear and self-organising systems.

    From this basis, Edward de Bono developed the concept and tools of lateral thinking. What is so special is that instead of his work remaining hidden in academic texts he has made it practical and available to everyone, from five years olds to adults. The late Lord Mountbatten once invited Dr. de Bono to talk to all his admirals. Dr. de Bono was asked to open the first ever Pentagon meeting on Creativity. At the UN Social Summit in Copenhagen he was asked to address the banking and finance group.

    The term ‘lateral thinking’ was introduced by Edward de Bono and is now so much part of the language that it is used equally in a physics lecture and in a television comedy.

    Traditional thinking is to do with analysis, judgment and argument. In a stable world this was sufficient because it was enough to identify standard situations and to apply standard solutions. This is no longer so in a changing world where the standard solutions may not work.

    There is a huge need world-wide for thinking that is creative and constructive and can design the way forward. Many of the major problems in the world cannot be solved by identifying and removing the cause. There is a need to design a way forward even if the cause remains in place.

    Edward de Bono has provided the methods and tools for this new thinking. He is the undisputed world leader in what may be the most important field of all in the future: constructive and creative thinking.

    In 1996, The European Creativity Association surveyed their members across Europe to ask who had most influenced them. Dr. de Bono’s name came so far ahead that they requested the official naming committee of the International Astronomical Union (in Massachusetts) to name a planet after him. So DE73 became EdeBono.

    In 1995 the Malta Government awarded Edward de Bono the ‘Order of Merit’. This is the highest award available and is limited to only twenty living persons.

    For many thousands, indeed millions, of people world-wide, Edward de Bono’s name has become a symbol of creativity and new thinking.

    In 1972, Edward de Bono established the Cognitive Research Trust as a charitable organisation devoted to the teaching of thinking in schools (see CoRT Thinking Lessons).

    Edward de Bono founded the International Creative Forum which has had as members many of the leading corporations in the world: IBM, Du Pont, Prudential, Nestle, British Airways, Alcoa, CSR etc.

    Dr. de Bono has made two TV series: de Bono’s Course in Thinking (BBC) and The Greatest Thinkers (WDR, Germany)

    Peter Ueberroth, whose organisation of the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles rescued the Games from oblivion, attributed his success to his use of de Bono’s lateral thinking. So did John Bertrand, skipper of the successful 1983 challenger for the America’s Cup yacht race. Ron Barbaro, President of Prudential Insurance (USA) also attributed his invention of living needs benefits to de Bono’s methods.

    Perhaps what is so unique about Edward de Bono is that his work spans from teaching 7 years olds in primary schools to working with senior executives in the world’s largest corporations. His work also spans many cultures: Europe, North and South America, Russia, The Middle East, Africa, SE Asia, Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand etc.

Edward de Bono Speaking Videos

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Edward de Bono's Speech Descriptions

Edward de Bono brings his world-renowned system of lateral thinking into all of his presentations. He can demonstrate how by making your organization more creative it will become more innovative. His techniques and theories, including his famous “Six Thinking Hats” will help you to see the whole process of thought in different, exciting and enhancing ways.

Suggested Speaking Topics:

  • Creating an Innovative Edge for your Organization
  • Growing a Creative Organization
  • Lateral Thinking Workshop
  • Six Thinking Hats Workshop
  • The Lateral Approach
  • The Thinking Business
  • Thinking Outside the Box

    Lateral Thinking
    A way of thinking that seeks a solution to an intractable problem through unorthodox methods or elements that would normally be ignored by logical thinking. Edward de Bono divides thinking into two methods. He calls one 'vertical thinking' that is, using the processes of logic, the traditional-historical method. He calls the other 'lateral thinking', which involves disrupting an apparent sequence and arriving at the solution from another angle.
    When you are faced with fast-changing trends, fierce competition, and the need to work miracles despite tight budgets, you need Lateral Thinking.

    Developing breakthrough ideas does not have to be the result of luck or a shotgun effort. Edward de Bono's proven methods provide a deliberate, systematic process that will result in innovative thinking. Creative thinking is not a talent, it is a skill that can be learnt. It empowers people by adding strength to their natural abilities which improves teamwork, productivity and where appropriate - profit.

    Today, better quality and better service are essential, but they are not enough. Creativity and innovation are the only engines that will drive lasting, global success.

    Six Hats Thinking
    People are seeking quality everywhere except in the most important area - the quality of thinking. We need better thinking methods in order to make full use of our available intelligence and experience.

    As organisations reduce the number of people employed, they need to get the maximum benefit from those remaining, including the maximum output from their thinking.

    Current thinking is dominated by adversarial thinking. The mode of discussion revolves around argument, the purpose being to defeat your opponent and by doing so discover the truth. Adversarial thinking serves a purpose. However, it is not the only way of thinking and in some circumstances it has limitations. Six Thinking Hats offers a practical alternative. It encourages co-operation, exploration and innovation.

    It is often assumed that intelligence goes hand in hand with thinking. In fact, very intelligent people are in danger of becoming poor thinkers. This is because they fall into the intelligence trap. That is, they use their intelligence to entrench themselves in support of one point of view. Even though you have a fantastic sports car you may be a poor driver. Similarly those with excellent minds may use them inadequately. Thinking and driving are skills that can be taught and improved upon.

    The Six Thinking Hats Workshop is a powerful one day 'hands-on' workshop structured to help business executives break out of their 'thinking ruts' using techniques found in Dr Edward de Bono's landmark book, "Six Thinking Hats."

  • What People are Saying about Seeing Edward Speak

    Rating Entries

    “I believe Dr. de Bono′s work in teaching people to think may be the most important thing happening in the world today.”
    George Gallup

    “If you haven′t heard of Edward de Bono or of Lateral Thinking, perhaps you have been too busy thinking in conventional ways.”
    Forbes Magazine

    “You can do no better than to attend a de Bono seminar.”
    Tom Peters

    “By using Edward de Bono′s brilliant concept of ′Lateral Thinking′ we were able to revolutionize the insurance industry through ′living needs′ policies that allow people to benefit from their life insurance while they are alive.”
    Ron D. Barbaro,
    the Prudential Insurance Company of America

    “At DuPont, we have experienced the power of deliberate, systematic application of the de bono tools to practical problems with remarkable results. for example, Lateral Thinking led to a major breakthrough in process continuity at a fiber plant with a radical altering of basic equipment design, reducing the number of moving parts by 80%.”
    David Tanner,
    Founding Director,
    Du Pont Center for Creativity & Innovation

    “The head of research at 3m, an innovative corporation, said that a 90 minute talk by Edward de Bono, ten years before, has had more effect on the thinking of their entire research staff than anything they had done before.”
    Business Press

    “Our key professionals have embraced de bono′s creative thinking techniques. they are having a profound impact on the quality of our thinking at IBM.”
    Jack Smulowitz,

    “…I have become a convert. in ′Lateral Thinking′ our normally haphazard way of thinking is replaced by a deliberate method that, in a prescribed and systematic way, solves the problems.”
    Ivar Giaver,
    Nobel Prize for Physics,
    Renssalear Institute

    “Sad to think how much harm has been caused by the brutal arrogance of rock logic.”
    Professor Dudley Herschbach,
    Nobel Prize for Chemistry 1986
    (in a comparison of the rock logic of the present to the water logic of perception proposed by Dr. Edward de Bono in his book, I Am Right You Are Wrong: From Rock Logic to Water Logic

    “Lateral thinking helps us to leap from a well traveled neural rut to a more productive side-track whose benefit is seen only in hindsight. his (de bono′s) thinking tools are designed to lead us from the vicarious ′why didn′t I think of that before?′ to the triumphant ′eureka.′” I saw the system work in action at an impasse during a seminar of nobel laureates. when a random word was injected into the discussion (a de bono thinking tool), the problem was quickly solved.”
    Sheldon Lee Glashow,
    Nobel Prize for Physics,

    “Six Hats systematically provides an opportunity for creativity in an environment that′s free of the criticism and confrontation we used to see. this means that everyone can collaborate and build on even the craziest of ideas to come up with creative solutions. it′s true, we had great results using Six Hats with qstar (an increase in the efficiency of the development process by 40%), but the long-term impact is even greater. we can repeat our success over and over because of these changed behaviors.”
    Suzanne Wolfe,
    Human Resource Director,
    MDS Sciex

    “…our culture is suspicious of any kind of thinking that works in ways other than through logic; and, to a very large extent, logical thinking is the only kind of thinking that is encouraged in our educational system. dr. de bono does well to expose so clearly the faults in a system that places exclusive reliance on one aspect of the mind alone. one hopes that this book (I Am Right You Are Wrong) will be studied and appreciated by those to whom it will be of the most value.”
    Dr. Brian David Josephson,
    Nobel Prize in Physics,

    Some of Edward de Bono′s corporate clients include:

    Saatchi & Saatchi

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    Books by Edward de Bono:

    Six Thinking Hats

    Six Thinking Hats can help you think better-with its practical and uniquely positive approach to making decisions and exploring new ideas. It is an approach that thousands of business managers, educators, and government leaders around the world have already adopted with great success.

    “The main difficulty of thinking is confusion,” writes Edward de Bono, long recognized as the foremost international authority on conceptual thinking and on the teaching of thinking as a skill. “We try to do too much at once. Emotions, information, logic, hope, and creativity all crowd in on us. It is like juggling with too many balls.” The solution? De Bono unscrambles the thinking process with his “six thinking hats”:

      • WHITE HAT: neutral and objective, concerned with facts and figures
      • RED HAT: the emotional view
      • BLACK HAT: careful and cautious, the “devil’s advocate” hat
      • YELLOW HAT: sunny and positive
      • GREEN HAT: associated with fertile growth, creativity, and new ideas
      • BLUE HAT: cool, the color of the sky, above everything else-the organizing hat

    Through case studies and real-life examples, Dr. de Bono reveals the often surprising ways in which deliberate role playing can make you a better thinker. He offers a powerfully simple tool that you-and your business, whether it’s a start-up or a major corporation-can use to create a climate of clearer thinking, improved communication, and greater creativity. His book is an instructive and inspiring text for anyone who makes decisions, in business or in life.

    Think!: Before It’s Too Late
    The world is full of problems and conflicts. So why can we not solve them?

    According to Edward de Bono, current thinking cannot solve world problems because current thinking is itself the problem. And this is getting worse: we are so accustomed to readily available information online that we search immediately for the answers rather than thinking about them. Our minds function like trying to drive a car using only one wheel. There’s nothing wrong with that one wheel—conventional thinking—but we could all get a lot further if we used all four.

    De Bono examines why we think the way we do from a historical perspective and uses some of his famous thinking techniques combined with new ideas to show us how to change the way we think. If we strengthen our ability and raise our thinking level, other areas of our life—both personal and business success—will improve. De Bono is the master of the original big “concept” book and his enticement to us to use our minds as constructively as possible should appeal to a whole new generation of fans.

    Creativity Workout: 62 Exercises to Unlock Your Most Creative Ideas
    Creativity was once thought to be a talent bestowed upon a lucky few. Today it is understood as a skill that we can all learn, develop and apply. And in today’s economy-with information available to everyone and support services outsourced overseas-creativity is the most valuable asset you can possess and the best way to get ahead.

    Learn to unlock these abilities with Creativity Workout. In 62 exercises designed by Edward de Bono, the world’s leading creativity expert, you’ll discover how to tap into your most original thinking. Each exercise is fun and simple and will get you in the creative state of mind necessary to think yourself to success.

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