To All The Dummies In The World.

upside-down-wheelbarrow.JPG
‘The Wheelbarrow’ by Gloria

Also published by American Chronicle in a slightly different version

Or, De Bono Debugged

To Bill Gates, Lee Iacocca, Osama – or you dummies who can’t think beyond today’s Bush, today’s Iraq, today’s Blair, today’s Israel, today’s Musharraf, today’s GMA, today’s elections & erections, today’s Vista: Debug your thinking!

And yes, we can learn from Microsoft Windows and Edward de Bono – but first things first. Like Windows, de Bono needs debugging. Windows is great when at last you understand it; de Bono is grand when finally you comprehend him. To me, the one important bug of Windows is Help – it programs me to fail; the one important bug of de Bono is his books (he has written 55) – they program me to yawn.

I know Windows more than the palm of my right hand – I’ve been opening Windows for 20 years. I know Edward de Bono more than the palm of my left hand – I have been using him for 30 years. Bill Gates and Edward de Bono, strange bedfellows? That depends on your imagination!

I’m saying Windows is the World’s #1 Application for Applications. It invented integrated thinking – Bill Gates integrated Internet Explorer with Windows, and what Bill Gates says stays. Integrated thinking towards total marketing control. Bill Gates is a marketing genius.

I’m saying Edward de Bono is the World’s #1 Thinker for Thinkers. He invented lateral thinking, including the term. Lateral thinking towards total control over critical thinking. De Bono is a creative genius.

De Bono is The Master Mind when it comes to creative thinking, but he is too much of a good thing when it comes to explaining his own lateral thinking. And, like Windows, de Bono is difficult to apply.

Time for wise guys & dummies. Now, since we’re going to talk about creativity for dummies and wise guys here, first let me introduce this wise guy to you, dummy.

I call myself a wrinker, a creative writer who tinkers with words and ideas – which by itself at once proves my point. Blogs: I have more blogsites than I have children (a dozen). Books: I have written several and published one. Feature articles: I have published quite a number in the American Chronicle (americanchronicle.com) and Inquirer.net and many government and private publications; I have many, many more on my hard disk. Editing & desktop-publishing: I have edited and desktop-published the Philippine Journal of Crop Science and written its popular editorials since 2001 with Microsoft Word. A word processor for desktopping a journal? That’s creative thinking, a Wrinker Act. Creative writing: I can think up and write a highly original 1000-word feature article in 24 hours (including 8 hours of sleep and 8 hours of doing something else). Personal: I’m an Ilocano from Asingan, Pangasinan in northern Luzon, Philippines; I’m 67.

I owe my creativity to two people through their books I read: One, Rudolf Flesch and his How To Write, Speak And Think More Effectively in 1965. Two, Edward de Bono and his The Mechanism Of Mind in 1975. De Bono is the creator of lateral thinking that the business world has lovingly embraced, Flesch is the creator of the Readability Formula that the knowledgeable in the world of writing now use.

There is the contrast between two creative minds. Flesch is bright and entertaining, De Bono is dazzling and boring.

Flesch successfully condensed his thoughts on creativity by inventing his Readability Formula that those who know something use; de Bono has his smart Six Thinking Hats that only managers can use. He owes the world a simplification of his hat trick.

Let me tell you that de Bono did attempt to crystallize his thoughts on creative thinking by coming up with a simple device to generate creative moments flowing on to a creative movement in a brainstorming session. The device is a single word:

Po.

You say ‘Po’ to every suggestion given, whether irrelevant, inutile, inconsequential, insane. Po.

What is the best form of government for the Philippines? Po!
A military dictatorship. Po.
Shoot the leaders. Po.
Change the system of government. Po.
Change the name of the country. Po.
Change the President now!
Po.
Buy a new tire.
Po.
Crooked monster.
Po.
Field demonstration.
Po.
Cross stitch.
Po.
Parliamentary form of government.
Po.
Regional form of government.
Po. (Comment: Not unlike parliamentary.)
Matriarchal.
Po.
Education.
Po!

I deliberately put in uncalled for thoughts like ‘crooked monster’ because that’s the idea of a Po brainstorm – to derail the logical train of thought; if you’re always logical, you will never have a Po moment, and therefore you will never have a Po movement, and therefore you will never be creative.

I did not plan the ‘ending.’ But when the word ‘matriarchal’ came, followed by ‘education,’ it was clear what was needed was the power of women in the Philippine governance – at least, according to this brainstorm – and we needed education to get it going.

That off-the-cuff illustration of a creative moment flowing into a creative movement tells me that in practice, Po is better considered not simply a word or sound but a mantra as important as Om.

Po is not the key to a creative moment: it is a sound that becomes the creative moment itself as it becomes the creative movement. Po creates the next creative moment, and the next, and the next …

I have trained my mind, having had the acquaintance of de Bono more than 30 years ago, to do a mental flip and go into the Po channel, at the drop of a hat (or six hats) – and the flow of the creative juice stops when an idea strikes me as ‘Yes!’

Po is the most creative flip I have ever seen unseen. Tony Buzan’s mind map? It’s good, but not good enough for me.

In fact I invented ‘integrated thinking’ and ‘creative movement’ (beyond ‘creative moment’), ‘Po movement’ (beyond ‘Po moment’), ‘Po brainstorm’ and ‘Po channel’ while I was writing this. Po works!

And now I submit that creative thinking as (I see) de Bono sees it can be simplified in these 7 words:

Creativity is simply saying Yes to No.

Po! Did you notice? The image is that of an upside down wheelbarrow, a Yes pretending to be a No. It’s Gloria’s new metaphor on the old adage: Looks deceive.

Now, dummy, you will say Yes, No?

Copyright 15 May 2007 by Frank A Hilario
Researched for, written, organized-reorganized & formatted via Microsoft Word 2003.

 

 

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