Thinking Managers

Edward de Bono of suggests an artificial construct to facilitate creative thinking. As with everything Edwards suggests, it's worth a try!

Creativity and Teamwork

Imagine that every organisation had four teams within it, each with a specific task.

Those on these teams would have other roles too, but would work with others, using teamwork to fulfil a set task. Each team would have a distinct focus, and it is important that this distinctiveness is preserved. Integrating the functions of the teams or of exchanging members would be out of the question. However, over time a particular person could switch from one team to another, but this switch would be deliberate and permanent, not temporary.

This rigid team structure might surprise those who believe that creativity should be free and unstructured.

The first team is the ‘values’ team. This team has to find and figure out values that matter. Values could arise from social observation. Values could be triggered by changes in technology.

Negative values could be created by technology, so then there will be a need to get rid of the negative values.

The second team is the ‘idea team’. This team takes the defined values from the value team and seeks to design an idea that would allow the values to be delivered in a practical way.

Not only do the values have to be delivered, but they have to be delivered in a way that makes business sense. Profitability and cost control are essential.

The third team is the ‘implementation’ team. They have to go into detail in a very specific way as how things will be implemented. They can't just say: ‘there would be a way of doing this’. The specifics would have to be spelled out. How are things going to be done? How is it going to be paid for? What problems might arise?

The fourth team is the ‘assessment’ team. The value has been defined and there is an idea for delivering that value, as well as a specific suggestion as to how the idea might be implemented. Now the assessment team can view the whole picture. It should function positively and constructively. Modifications can be suggested where necessary. The assessment team should comprise creative people as well as numbers people.

So we have four proposed teams – Value, Idea, Implementation, Assessment – working separately, but together: like the four legs of a horse or the four wheels of a car.

You could also use the human digestive tract as an analogy. Every part does its prescribed job and then passes matters on to the next section. The clearly defined functions of all four teams focus the thinking and ensure that every aspect of innovation is fully considered.

About the author
Edward de Bono is the world's leading authority in the field of creative thinking and the teaching of thinking as a skill.

  Edward de Bono