The pioneer of lateral thinking, Dr Edward De Bono, 77, is a physician, author, inventor and consultant. He’s got degrees in psychology, physiology, medicine and a doctorate in design. De Bono’s admiration for scientists and engineers is as intense as his dislike for academics, philosophers and politicians. Here, the thinker from Malta talks about global recession, terrorism, climate change and his India plans. Excerpts from the interview...
Whats brings you to India?
I have a big idea for India which has to do with forming a new caste called Positive constructive creative thinkers (PCCT). These will be people who value positive thinking and do not use their intelligence in just criticising things, but making things happen. (To join, drop a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org)
What is lateral thinking for a lay man?
It is based on an understanding of how a brain works as a pattern making system, which is asymmetric. You can go from A to B and B to C but not from A to C. It can be used by children, big corporations and governments alike.
Can lateral thinking avert a global financial crisis such as the one in 2008?
In a global world, the control of local economy is lesser. The idea of having functional internal currencies can help. You can change your normal currency for investments like split a dollar and make it two for investments. This will be controlled internally.
How do we go about solving the issue of climate change?
If you tax gas guzzling vehicles to subsidise eco-friendly cars, people will think that they have paid for those, though they are not driving them. They may then want to drive it themselves. Psychologically that is more powerful. There are other solutions like solar energy as well.
What about global terrorism?
The answer may lie in positive constructive thinking. For instance, all the countries that set up Israel should jointly give Palestinians a grant of $ 3 billion a year. So everytime Israel fires a rocket into Palestine, they lose $ 50 million. Such innovative solutions could help.