The best Edward de Bono Quotes on Creativity & Design

Edward de bono on creativity

Edward De Bono is by far one of the most prolific thinkers of the 20th century. He has written +46 books and contributed many leading tools for creative and divergent thinking. You may be familiar with the Six Thinking Hats and the term Lateral thinking, which are are some of de Bono's most impactful works. 

Fascinated by the brain and how it can be trained to be more creative, de Bono speaks and writes extensively on the misconceptions we have about the human brain. His quotes are often genius in their simplicity, showing his deep understanding of the limitations people place on their innate creativity. Here are some of our favorite quotes from de Bono: 

“If you never change your mind, why have one?”

“Design is how you put together what you have to deliver the value that you want”

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

“Sometimes the situation is only a problem because it is looked at in a certain way. Looked at in another way, the right course of action may be so obvious that the problem no longer exists.”

“The system will always be defended by those countless people who have enough intellect to defend but not quite enough to innovate.” 

"Studies have shown that 90% of error in thinking is due to error in perception. If you can change your perception, you can change your emotion, and this can lead to new ideas"

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

“Humour is by far the most significant activity of the human brain.”

"Creative thinking - in terms of idea creativity - is not a mystical talent. It is a skill that can be practiced and nurtured."

“Creativity involves provocation, exploration and risk taking. Creativity involves "thought experiments." You cannot tell in advance how the experiment is going to turn out. But you want to be able to carry out the experiment.”

“We need creativity in order to break free from the temporary structures that have been set up by a particular sequence of experience.”

“There is no doubt that creativity is the most important human resource of all. Without creativity, there would be no progress, and we would be forever repeating the same patterns.” 

 

How to have a beautiful mind by Edward de Bono

What is the most untapped power of the human brain? It’s not what you think it might be...

the power of thinking in systems thinking
“The most significant behaviour of the brain is humor because it indicates an asymmetric patterning system”
— Edward de Bono

Individual growth requires the ability to reflect and dynamically learn. Why is it that you can have a highly intelligent person who is not good at thinking, or an incredible thinker who is not classically considered intelligent?

The father of lateral thinking, Edward de Bono, illustrates this phenomena through a simple example of a car. He says that intelligence is like the horsepower of a motor, whereas thinking is the capabilities of the driver.

These two are not mutually exclusive, but without the capability of the driver, the car doesn't go anywhere.

So – intelligence is pointless unless you have the thinking tools to unlock and apply it.

IS YOUR THINKING RESTRICTED?

It's hard to believe, but many people don't think very well. Years of structured education and work life often form neurological pathways that are designed to facilitate focused and restricted thinking.

These pathways minimize the danger of being wrong or missing out on the rewards created by schools and organizations. People often limit or box in their thinking tools, restricting the horsepower of their intelligence.

We are seeing more and more rigid and restrictive thinking in organizations, which results in a net loss of creativity and productivity.

More now than ever, the world needs dynamic, flexible, and divergent thinkers to help explore and evolve the complex problems that we all face.  

 

Shifting mindsets and perspectives
“We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them”
— Albert Einstein

Fostering Creative Confidence

One quick way to unlock your creativity potential is to make it fun... seriously. Play-based professional activities, from Lego Play to Gamestorming, are quickly gaining popularity.

These types of play-based explorations develop new neurological pathways and flood the brain with reward neurochemicals like dopamine.

We investigated the positive benefits of play-based creativity tools, and came up with 25 exercises called Designercise. These play based exercises help break down rigid thinking and build creative brain pathways.

BRAIN HACKING

How often do you enable an environment that deliberately fosters creativity? In order to enhance strategic and effective problem solving, people need access to the right-fit tools.

They also need time and techniques that will help them get to the end goal. Our brains are highly effective patterning machines, meaning they make sense of the world through creating relationships.

Yet, we are often taught to break the world down into individual chunks and solve problems in isolation. We instead should be solving problems in more dynamic and chaotic ways.

CURIOSITY & CREATIVITY

Creativity is not a special talent that some people have and others don't. It is the ability to break through the cognitive restraints and structures we all place on our thinking skills.

This is why conformity is one of the biggest killers of creativity. Curiosity is the remedy to conformity, and the way to enhance creative confidence is to shift perspectives on how the world works.

Creativity is a skill that everyone can learn – there are no magical potions or special talents that people need.

We are all born with the same thinking capabilities, and creativity is about how we design our brains to interpret the world. It is not some innate skill that we have or need in order to unlock our creative thinking skills.

Confidence in anything comes through positive reinforcement, and creativity is no different.