The Mind Created Software; Now A Software For The Mind

by Amit Tripathi    Feb 23, 2005

CXOs of today’s enterprises are constantly being reminded to put on their thinking caps through cliche’s such as out-of-the-box thinking, adoption of innovative approaches and so on. Edward de Bono’s (of Lateral Thinking fame) and TCS’s collaborative efforts at digitizing the thinking process in the form of software might come as a great respite.

Speaking to CXOtoday, de Bono said, “Most human thinking is based on some preconceived premises and we tend to reach a desired result from the beginning. Our general thinking process is based on arguments, and contradictions. This has to change if our thinking has to be effective.”

He dilutes his thought bombshell with the example that while buying a car we are more interested in the speed, comfort, etc. While the design and construct of the car is taken for granted as being the responsibility of others. Here is another quip from de Bono “No need to change attitude amongst people, just teach thinking.”

He illustrates his thoughts with examples from across the world, on how matters ranging from juvenile delinquency to corporate bottom line, could be addressed effectively by putting on, what is termed as the “Six Thinking Hats”.

But what do these “Six Thinking Hats” mean? Simply put, each hat is associated with a color that signifies six cardinal dimensions that both individuals as well as organizations deal with. White stands for information, Black for problems, yellow for benefits, Red for feelings, Green for creativity, and Blue for control. Once an issue is identified and the concerned participants have been involved, deliberation on the issue is done by either applying all the colors or a combination of a few.

So, performing White, say for instance on the Indian pharmaceuticals market would mean gathering all possible information on the same, from participants, in a fixed time frame. The whole idea according to de Bono is to explore one aspect at one particular time, thereby reducing the time wastage in terms of discussing all that is irrelevant to that aspect. Thus, for example, while performing Red, other colors are not considered.

The important thing here is that this structured thinking mechanism has now been digitized and made commercially available by Indian software major TCS. Says S. Ramadorai, CEO and MD, TCS, “TCS owns the IPR for the software de Bono Thinking Systems 24X7 (dBT 24×7), which has been developed by our creativity and innovation lab. This solution will be offered to global customers through the existing distributor network, de Bono Thinking Systems (dBTS), an organization that has over 900 certified de Bono consultants in 40 countries.”

The press was given a live demonstration of dBT 24X7, involving even the audience as participants (including this writer who did Green or creative), where a topic was selected for deliberation, the participants donned different thinking colors (three of them in this case), and all their ideas were successfully recorded for each color.

Says V.Ramaswamy, head-process consulting, TCS, “TCS has been using dBT 24×7 for quite some time now and the results are noteworthy. It is equally applicable for an individual as well as an organisation in exploring possibilities relating to any issue.”

Some Indian companies that have already implemented de Bono’s techniques to unleash innovation and creativity within their enterprises include Hero Honda, Danfoss, Samsung, Zee Telefilms, Eicher Motors, ION Exchange and Tata Motors.

As the short interaction veered towards the end, the thinking guru’s definition of an idea as an experience put in the form of value, left the whole audience thinking.