I was in Prague on January 7th for the launch of the European Year of Creativity, 2009. The Czech Republic has the presidency of the EU for the first half of 2009.
As usual one of the big problems facing creativity in the inability of language to distinguish between artistic creativity and idea creativity. Both involve creating something new which has value. The practical problem is that the Year of Creativity may tend to focus on artistic creativity because it is better known. That is unfortunate because the world needs creative thinking more than ever before. Many problems facing the world are not easily solved with our existing thinking. I am very much in favour of artistic creativity but we do need idea creativity.
It may be that people still believe that nothing can be done about creative thinking and that we just have to wait and hope for new ideas. That attitude is very old fashioned but still prevalent. Many people just do not know that there are formal and deliberate ways of creating new ideas - such as the tools of lateral thinking.
I encourage anyone reading this message to write to your government and the European Union to emphasise the need and possibility of creative thinking.
It is indeed a move in the right direction that the EU has appointed me 'Ambassador for Thinking' for the year of creativity.
Edward de Bono
15 January 2009