de Bono Challenge #1 – Random Input

I’m a bit of a fan of Edward de Bono’s ideas. You have heard of “lateral thinking” – yup, that was one of his. I was introduced to some of his thinking tools at school by the best teacher I ever had – Miss Veale of Turves Green Girls’ School. Then we covered him in more depth at college on my degree course – BA in Systems Analysis. I used them for real when problem solving in my job, and sometimes in everyday life. They are not new ideas now I guess, but they’re simple and useful and have definitely stood the test of time.

For those who haven’t had the pleasure yet, de Bono’s beginning point is that thinking isn’t something you’re either good at or not, but that thinking is a skill, and like any skill it can be honed and practised and improved. He provides a whole Smörgåsbord of different tools to help do so (my all time favourite one is his “Six Thinking Hats“). The thing is, to improve you do have to practise. Regularly. So my challenge to myself is to practise one exercise (de Bono refers to them as “games”) from de Bono’s “How to Have Creative Ideas” each week ….and share the process in my blog. Sunday is when I should be doing this – feel free to prod me if I don’t. Feel free to join in if you want.

This book presents a series of games to play using random words. I plan to use this random word generator here to get the random words I need.

Enough blather. Let’s get on with the first game – Random Input. For this we need a task to focus on and a random word to stimulate new ideas for or improve or simplify the focus presented by the task.

TASK (from de Bono): New ideas to make a bank more attractive to its customers.


let’s get the obvious out of the way first

…play flute music softly in the background
…an interior decor featuring a fluted theme

moving on

…free music lessons as incentives for regular savers (for being “in tune” with your finances)
…have all of the counter staff break out in song if someone’s new balance is a predetermined amount (like when the staff at Johnny Rocket’s diner perform a number when someone orders a certain item from the menu)
…a series of suites of financial services tailored around the type of music people prefer e.g. the Classical suite would be traditional and low risk so would have an interest only fixed rate mortgage, high rate savings account with a long notice period, and a shares portfolio based on blue chip companies whereas the Hip Hop portfolio might have a foreign currency mortgage, an instant access savings account with no minimum deposit, and a shares portfolio based around companies focussing on eco-building practices.
…set of security keys based on a signature tune or tunes for each customer instead of just numbers (flute has keys)

Ok, I found that quite hard. Perhaps it is because it is the first one.  I shall keep practising.

Have a go yourself. Either use this task with a different random word, or choose a different task – the front page of a newspaper (or home page of a newspaper website) can be used to generate tasks.

Have fun!