BRAIN FOOD: If I had to start again ..

BRAIN FOOD: If I had to start again .. - It's difficult to say what I'd do. When you open up a new field you can't be sure what the end-point is - you have to create as you go. I started out in medicine, where I developed ideas on self-organising information systems. I then applied these to networks in the brain, which led to inventing lateral thinking. So if I went back and said: 'No, I should've gone into this straight away', it wouldn't have worked, I wouldn't have had that background. A friend worked for a publisher who wanted more writers from England, so I wrote my first book. Had she not worked for him, it might have happened differently.

by EDWARD DE BONO, author and originator of 'lateral thinking', isan internationally renowned authority on creative thinking
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

It's difficult to say what I'd do. When you open up a new field you can't be sure what the end-point is - you have to create as you go. I started out in medicine, where I developed ideas on self-organising information systems. I then applied these to networks in the brain, which led to inventing lateral thinking. So if I went back and said: 'No, I should've gone into this straight away', it wouldn't have worked, I wouldn't have had that background. A friend worked for a publisher who wanted more writers from England, so I wrote my first book. Had she not worked for him, it might have happened differently.

Starting again now, I would bear in mind three things that will become very important: simplicity, design and value. Cutting costs, solving problems and analysing situations is not enough - nor is competence. Most people move up an organisation through competence and because that's what is expected of them. Suddenly they find they don't know what to do, and end up fiddling the books or something. When Nokia started their mobile phone division they invited me to talk to them, since when they've done better and better! In my book on simplicity, I asked: 'Why is there passport control on leaving the UK?' Three months later they abolished it, although I can't prove any link. My ambition is to save the world, sleep and have a happy life. I wrote a book on why I should be King of Australia which was well received - even by John Howard. Yes, I'd like to be King of Australia or Emperor of China.

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