Monday, June 29, 2009

Cement Your Reputation as a Leader of Innovative Thinking

To celebrate the European Year of Creativity & Innovation Edward de Bono, currently European Ambassador for Thinking 2009, has launched an online competition to find his greatest students.

All creative thinkers who use de Bono methods are invited to submit their success stories in a very creative way—by blogging on one of Edward de Bono’s newest websites. Find out more at

Note: de Bono Consulting will be happy to help any client or trainer in our U.S. network write your story. Just follow these easy steps:

  1. Call 515-278-1292 to arrange an interview time.
  2. Spend 15 to 30 minutes on the scheduled phone interview with our writer, Kathy Myers, co-founder of de Bono Thinking Systems
  3. We’ll develop your story and send it back to you for your editing/approval.
  4. Then follow the directions at the website above to post the story as a blog.

Can't think of a success story? The contest is open until the end of December, 2009. Call us to talk about designing an application of the tools, executing, and documenting the results this fall. We'll support you each step of the way!

For examples of de Bono success stories, order my book, Innovation Case by Case. The book includes 20 accounts of situations where de Bono thinkers applied the tools and achieved notable results.

-Barbara Stennes, de Bono Consulting

Friday, June 26, 2009

Training Magazine Top 125 Contest

Training magazine is now accepting applications for it's Top 125 contest. Visit for details and to apply.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Monday, June 22, 2009

Innovation and the Economic Crisis

The OECD has released a new report, Policy Responses to the Economic Crisis: Investing in Innovation for Long Term Growth, which documents the relationship between innovation and economic growth. Specifically, the OECD asks how the recession is likely to affect those factors that are most important for long-term economic growth and development, such as innovation and entrepreneurship.

Not surprisingly, they find that companies are cutting their investments in innovation, such as R&D. Other metrics of innovation, such as venture capital investment, show similar trends. This is in line with historical trends, as innovation expenditure generally tracks GDP growth. The problem, of course, is that innovation is precisely one of the drivers of economic recovery. As more firms slash their budgets for innovation, the more difficult it will be to claw our way out of the recession.

But the picture is not entirely bleak. If history is any guide, economic crisis also spurs innovation, in the sense that inefficient companies go bankrupt and scrappy startups pioneer new business models. It's likely that the seeds of tomorrow's Fortune 500 companies are being planted right now.

The report describes other mechanisms by which the crisis is affecting innovation, such as world trade, human capital, and clean technology. Furthermore, it analyzes the policy responses of individual OECD member countries to the crisis, in terms of the size and focus of their various stimulus packages.

It's an excellent report. Do have a read.

Edward de Bono's weekly message: A deliberate creative focus

Our economic system has sort of evolved. Any new inventions have generally regularised something that was happening anyway. It is generally felt that the impact of any new idea would be so strong that new ideas are risky. Indeed, it could be argued that the creative idea of securitising mortgages was the cause of the present economic crisis.

On my website I put forward an idea which will eventually become inevitable. But I do not see it happening for many years.

Perhaps there needs to be a world congress on economics with a direct and deliberate creative focus. Perhaps there needs to be an understanding that 'tinkering' will not always be sufficient.

Edward de Bono
12th June 2009

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Edward de Bono's weekly message: A different sort of Logic!

Our habits of thinking are too much judgement based and not enough design based. This arises from the origin with the GG3 (Greek Gang of Three). When this thinking came into Europe at the Renaissance the Church ran schools, universities and thinking in general. What the Church needed was truth, logic and argument to prove heretics wrong. So we developed an excellent thinking system for 'finding the truth' but we never developed thinking 'for creating value (design)'.

Our language also forces us to use judgement. We need to judge whether something is a 'chair' before we can us the word 'chair'. We cannot easily say 'a sort of thing for sitting on'. So everything ends up in sharp edged boxes. To these we can then apply the logic of Aristotle. Sooner or later I am going to develop a very different sort of logic.

Edward de Bono
6th June 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Are You Focused Yet?

As promised, here are two more tips on Staying Focused from Mike Michalowicz’s Toilet Paper Entrepreneur website.

While reviewing today’s tips, I checked out Claire Tompkins’ blog at and found an amazing array of resources for becoming more organized.

I’ve also been receiving Mike’s updates on the number of hits the Staying Focused list has received. Here is one synopsis he sent to those of us whose tips were posted:

“The post got over 100 views.... A MINUTE.... during the 8 hours of peak traffic time. So far we have over 14,000 unique visitors to the Stay Focused post.

Also, we are on the front page Google for search terms ‘staying focused’ and ‘ways to stay focused’, and are 2nd page Google for many other terms. And the post only went live two days ago!”

It interests me to see that so many people are searching for help on focusing their attention, since this is such a core concept underlying all of Edward de Bono’s thinking tools. Focus is a very powerful tool for creative thinking, a fact that may surprise you. In his book Serious Creativity, Dr. de Bono wrote, “Skilled focus with a little creative skill is probably better than poor focus with great creative skill. So the importance of focus should not be forgotten—especially as it is relatively easy to develop the focus habit.”

Order Serious Creativity by Edward de Bono

Master powerful tools for focusing your attention and energy by enrolling in a de Bono training class. As Edward de Bono said, we can make it easy for you to develop the focus habit.

Today’s Tips on How to Stay Focused

Words of Wisdom
Post a focus statement above your desk.
Examples: It’s the economy, stupid –James Carville.
Just do it –Nike.
It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop –Confucius.

Thanks To: Claire Tompkins of Clutter Coach

Get Into The Spirit Of It
I stay focused, when it’s difficult to do, by getting into the spirit of the subject matter through what I wear and how I set up my space when writing or preparing a speech. If I’m working on a Western, I’ll wear boots and jeans and have a figuring horse by my computer. If writing a spiritual book, I might have a Bible and my teddy-bear-angel next to my computer. I try to make it fun - and act AS IF I’m totally in the spirit of the subject matter.

Thanks To: Linda Seger of Script consulting, seminars, books

Find all 63 of the Staying Focused tips at

Thursday, June 04, 2009

A Marketplace for Creativity?

BootB is a new website with an interesting premise: a marketplace for creativity.

Some users ("Builders") go to the BootB in search of creative ideas. Builders might be anyone: Fortune 500 companies, start-up entrepreneurs, artists or writers looking for inspiration, anybody. They write a project description, offer a fee for the best idea, and post the description.

Other users ("Creatives") go to BootB in search of project briefs. Like builders, creatives can be anyone - from New York advertising agencies to Bolivian high school students. They browse the projects, select the interesting ones, and submit their ideas.

The builder then reads through all the submissions and selects the best idea. The winning creative collects the fee.

It's a nice way to centralize creativity. One drawback, however, is that BootB relies on quantity of ideas, not quality. There's no feedback mechanism that would allow people to break out of their habitual thinking patterns into truly innovative solutions (the Six Thinking Hats and Lateral Thinking techniques are, of course, examples of such a mechanism).

Nonetheless, we're glad to see BootB's efforts to encourage and reward innovative thinking. BootB is an innovative concept in its own right, and we wish them success.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Focus Tips

At de Bono Consulting we are always looking for information that will help our clients and colleagues. Recently Mike Michalowicz, author of the best-selling book The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, asked selected consultants how they stay focused on top priorities during downtimes. I responded and was one of 63 people whose ideas were chosen to appear on his web site

I was pleased to be included, but even better, I collected many other interesting ideas on how successful people manage their time and attention. It's daunting to read the whole list at once, so I've decided to supply two tips per week in my blog posts, along with other information that you might find interesting. (Please do check out Mike's site, as well--he is a great resource.)

Subscribe to our RSS feed so you don't miss a thing. Comment on my blog posts to help me provide the kinds of information you will find most valuable. And thanks for staying connected with de Bono Consulting.

How To Stay Focused

Fear–Plain and Simple
In the heart of every successful entrepreneur, you’ll find fear. Nothing helps you focus quite like it. Harness it. Because if you aren’t able to focus, buckle down and accomplish what needs to be done for your business and your clients (in that order) – you’re finished. Game over.
Thanks To: Joyce Wilden of Buzz Biz Public Relations

Shut and lock the door.
Turn off the phone. Turn off e-mail until the task is done.
Thanks To: Will Limkemann of Siqua Group Limited