Think before it’s too late (Edward de Bono)

It is really different to convince people that thinking is important. Thinking needs to be practical rather than political, and focussed on ‘what’s next’ rather than what has been. According to Edward de Bono (keynote at the final day of ICOT 2013), “world thinking cannot solve world problems because world thinking is itself the problem. And this is only getting worse” (source).

“Our existing thinking is EBNE – excellent but not enough. 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…”  (source).

Our usual thinking is very similar to that of early humans – in other words, most of our thinking is recognition thinking. And that is why we place so much emphasis on critical and analysis thinking to find out ‘what is going on here’.

Perception – 90% of errors in thinking are errors in perception and only 10% were errors in logic. As a species we have done little to change our perception of the world. The points of the compass enable us to direct our gaze. So what we need in every day life is a compass to help us look at things differently. PMI is one such tool – plus, minus, interesting. These are very simple but they make a big difference and can make the difference of between 30 and 100%. It gives youngsters a confidence in their thinking. Thinking needs to be taught. Teaching thinking can have a positive effect on students who are underachieving and undeserved.

The Church in the Middle ages was interested in thinking to find the ‘truth’, rather than in thinking to create value. The provocation, problem connection can be a powerful way to re-frame ways of thinking about specific issues…to develop a new concept and a new attitude. The ‘random word’ can be a great way to also generate alternative ideas. It opens up new tracks and therefore enables new paths of thinking to be opened up in the mind. Argument on the other hand is very negative, there is no design element, and there is way too much ego. It is from this point that the six hats were developed.

We have done so little about thinking for the last 2000 years. We have had philosophers and psychologists, who are more interested in measuring. In his presentation, de Bono asserts that when we change the way we think and strengthen our ability to raise our thinking level, other areas of our life – both personal and business – will improve.


About ictenhancedlearningandteaching

I am a director and consultant at Ethos Consultancy NZ ( I have a keen interest in all aspects of ICT Enhanced Learning and Teaching (ICTELT) where the focus lies on ways of scaffolding and empowering learners. In particular, I am interested in the way that creative, blended approached to Academic Professional Development can create trust, rapport and encourage reflective practice. As such, ICTELT is approached from facilitation, design, evaluation and assessment as opposed to the tools and what they can offer. I am a strong advocate of the potential of Web 2.0 to empower learners from all walks of life and cultures, especially after my experiences working for 6 years in the Middle East. In particular, I am interested how ePortfolios can be used in the VET sector (especially where Literacy and Language challenges are faced), in Recognition of Prior Learning, and in authentic, applied assessment. I have been involved with designing and developing ICTELT approaches and programmes for ten years. Following research informed approaches and design, I apply a qualitative, iterative process to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions, programmes and tools, encouraging learners' voices and input from all stakeholders.
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