EDWARD DE BONO: What I Learned From Him

Edward De Bono
Edward De Bono: What I Learned From Him

In Memory of Edward De Bono: The Father of Lateral Thinking


Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way. De Bono


I first heard of Edward De Bono in the year 2012 when I was running my Master’s degree in Behavioural Psychology at the University of Ibadan. The course was on Creative Thinking. It was there I was exposed to sheer volumes of works done by Edward De Bono who held the Da Vinci Professor of thinking Chair at University of Advancing Technology in Tempe, Arizona,US.


Born in Saint Julian’s Bay, Malta by Joseph De Bono, a physician and Josephine, an Irish Journalist, De Bono studied Medicine at the Royal University of Malta before proceeding to Christ Church, Oxford, for his Master’s in Psychology and Physiology. De Bono also had a PhD degree in Medicine from Trinity College, Cambridge.


De Bono popularized the concepts of design, lateral and perceptual thinking. To him, perception is superior to logic. “90% error of thinking is the error of perception not logic” noted De Bono.


When I started my corporate Coaching on Thinking in year 2019, I relied heavily on De Bono written works as reference materials. And I reached out to him to let him know how his crusade on Thinking has inspired me to start teaching on THINKING. He was excited, and we were thinking of possible collaboration before his passing.


Here are 5 major lessons I learned from De Bono, I hope you enjoy it. Let’s go!


1.Thinking is the greatest human activity on earth.


If you can think, you can change your life. De bono emphasized that the school system doesn’t encourage original thinking. In school, you are penalized for being original. If you have a different view, you are labelled a rebel.


Yet, organization’s success depends largely on the capacity to think, generate ideas, questions paradigms, and create different paths to generate solutions.

Related Post: 7 Habits of Highly Effective Thinkers

Many people who go to the school cannot think. The teachers and professors think for them. This is the reason there is a dearth of entrepreneurs in the world today because schools create job seekers, not job creators. He takes the capacity to think to create jobs.


2. Creativity is different from Innovation.


I thought they were both the same until I met De Bono. Creativity involves generating novel ideas, concepts, services and products while innovation is taking the novel ideas to the market. Therefore, you can’t be innovative without being creative. Also, until you take the novel ideas to the market, you have just wasted your creative efforts.


An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea. De Bono

Related Post: PISCO: The Thinking Tool for Problem Solving and Decision Making


3.Everybody can be Creative.


Creativity is not magical, it’s systematical.  Contrary to many beliefs, you don’t need to wait for special inspiration, a sign in the sky or sudden burst of ideas to be creative.


You can deliberately generate creative ideas. And De Bono design tools that systematize thinking process. Some of these tools are:


  • AGO
  • -PMI
  • -DO IT
  • -PISCO
  • Six Thinking Hats
  • -Six Action Shoes
  • -Six Value Medals


These thinking tools give direction to the brain to think laterally. (If you want to be trained on these or you want to train your organization on thinking tools, reach me at: [email protected])


4.Thinking can be FUN


Before I started studying the work of De Bono, like many others, I see thinking as hard work. In fact, it was said that some people will rather die than to think. Why? Because many associate thinking with stress. But through thinking tools, everybody can become creative thinkers.

Related Post: The SCAMPER Thinking Tool for idea generation


Thinking can be fun and interesting activities when approached with the mind-set that there is no error in making mistakes.


Humor is by far the most significant activity of the human brain. De Bono


5.Simplicity is the hallmark of Creativity.


If you want to be creative, learn to be simple. A lot of people think that by making things complex they are being creative. No! Creativity is about simplicity. In fact, it requires a lot of creativity to make things simple.


Customers are not looking for product description that  requires a dictionary to understand. By making things simple you attract more clients, create better learning experience for students ,write better advertising copy and get a yes on a date!


An expert is someone who has succeeded in making decisions and judgements simpler through knowing what to pay attention to and what to ignore. De Bono


These are some of the few things, I learned from De Bono. He will surely be missed.


PS: Let’s talk. What lessons did you learn from the life and works of De Bono? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

Meet the Author

Felix DuyilemiFelix A. Duyilemi is the international best-selling  and 2020 Reader’s Choice Award -winning Author of “How To Borrow God’s Brain To Succeed” and other best-selling books


He helps businesses and individuals craft compelling stories, expand their concepts of possibilities, and dream bigger dreams. His vision is to impact at least 3 billion people positively..

He’s the principal Consultant at Tremendous Consulting and Pastor Christ Classic Int’l Ministries.


When he’s not learning new concepts, he’s speaking or writing another bestseller.  For training or Workshop, reach him at [email protected]




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