Friday, July 24, 2009

Edward de Bono's weekly message: New book

My latest book (published July 2nd) is called 'THINK: before it is too late'. In it I suggest that the biggest problem facing humanity is not climate change but inadequate thinking. We are very complacent and even proud of our thinking. We can land men on the moon. WE can tap atomic energy. We have the internet, WE have supersonic flight etc. We have done very well in the area of science and technology because we have developed 'thinking for finding the truth'.

I have suggested the new word 'ebne' which means excellent but not enough. Our existing thinking is ebne but not enough. We have never developed 'thinking for creating value'.

In conflicts we rush to judge who is wrong and seek to punish that party. We do not try to design a way forward.

Edward de Bono
20th July 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Coke Freestyle

Coca-Cola is rolling out what looks to be a groundbreaking new drinks dispenser: Coke Freestyle. Your standard fountain machine at any fast-food joint has six or eight different types of fizzy drinks - Coke, Diet Coke, Cherry Coke, Sprite, etc. Instead of trifling 6-8 options, the Coke Freestyle machines will give consumers more than a hundred flavors.

At first blush, this might seem like a new version of the cable TV problem: "Five hundred channels and nothing on." But Coke Freestyle is actually a terrifically innovative development.

First, it offers huge scope for new product development. It is expensive and time-consuming to develop new drinks, pilot them in various test markets, and (maybe) roll them out nationally. Freestyle bypasses this entire process, allowing Coca-Cola to test hundreds - even thousands - of new products simultaneously. The cost of a new drink is minimal - just slap a different bag of syrup in the machine, update the machine's software with the new recipe, and that's it. And because each machine via the Internet to Coca-Cola's IT systems, the results of these experiments are available to managers in real-time.

Second, Freestyle enables regional differentiation. Maybe Peach Coke will be popular in Georgia but a flop everywhere else. Similarly, whilst the nation as a whole might shun Java Coke, it could be a huge hit with Seattlites.

Third, Coca-Cola can observe how tastes change throughout the day. For example, Freestyle has led Coke's managers to discover a surprising, mid-afternoon increase in sales of caffeine-free and sugar-free drinks. This valuable insight will drive some of their marketing decisions, enabling them to better target consumers in the post-lunch lull.

Finally, Coke Freestyle facilitates better inventory management. The dispensers monitor their own inventory levels, signalling store managers when a bag of syrup starts to run dry. In other words, Coca-Cola is applying the just-in-time management philosophy to its drinks machines, which allows the company to tie up less capital.

In short, the new dispenser is a huge advance for the fizzy drinks industry.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Edward de Bono's New Book

Edward de Bono's latest book is now available: Think! Before It's Too Late: 23 Reasons Why World Thinking Is So Poor.

At present, it's available only in the UK. So far, there's no word on a US release.

Innovation in Public Transportation

Could a secret weapon against climate change be hiding in the mountains of South America? According to the New York Times, maybe so.

Yesterday's edition includes a fascinating article about public transportation in Bogota. The Colombian capital - a city of some 9 million people - has implemented a high-speed bus network called TransMilenio ("TransMillenium"), which has simultaneously slashed passengers' commute times and reduced the city's fuel use by 60%.

How? In a sense, the network is a bus-subway hybrid. In other words, the city has taken the speed and efficiency of subways and the low costs of buses, combining them to create a completely new model.

TransMilenio operates with dedicated lanes; it doesn't share pavement with cars, trucks, or motorcycles. It is also designed to transfer large numbers of passengers very quickly (as opposed to traditional buses, where passengers board individually). Finally, the stations are large and centrally located (unlike traditional buses, which stop for passengers every 2-3 blocks). As such, TransMilenio moves large numbers of people very quickly through the city, and it doesn't get gridlocked during rush-hour traffic. A bus system is also significantly cheaper to build and operate than a subway system.

It's a terrifically innovative solution to a universal problem, and cities around the world are studying and adopting the TransMilenio model. If rapid-transit bus networks become commonplace, the decreased fossil fuel consumption could make a sizable dent in the climate change problem.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Des Moines Innovation Summit

de Bono Consulting CEO and President, Barbara Stennes, is gearing up for the Innovation Summit for Business Leaders in Des Moines on July 23.

The interactive and engaging event will explore the skills needed to become more innovative, and how to engage your workforce in strategic innovation during challenging times. Attendees will also participate in the Medici Game, led by simulations expert, Dan Topf.

Learn more about the Innovation Summit.

Register for the Innovation Summit.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Airline Innovation

Ryanair, Europe's leading discount airline, has an innovative idea for air travel: standing room only.

I'm pretty sure that the Onion had this idea years ago, but I can't find in their archives.

Edward de Bono's weekly message: Perception

It is not possible to pay attention to everything at once. In a market there are different stalls so that you need only pay attention to one thing - once you have chosen that thing. The CoRT programme so widely used in schools provides frameworks for directing attention. It is incredible that education has never realised that attention and perception are a much more important part of thinking than logic. Yet such things are completely absent in education. Many years ago, David Perkins at Harvard showed that ninety per cent of errors of thinking were errors of perception. Goedel's theorem shows how from within a system you can never logically prove the starting points - which remain arbitrary perceptions.

Again it may be that the Church influence on thinking neglected perception because in Church thinking matters of faith replaced actual perception.

Edward de Bono
20th June 2009