Paris meeting discusses world centre for new
A successful International Round Table on New Thinking,
was held at the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, on 14 November, on the
initiative of Edward de Bono. Participants included Prince Bandar Al-Saud,
Advisor to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia; Professor Robert Mundell,
Nobel Prize laureate and professor of economics at the University of
Columbia; Lord Norman Lamont, Former Chancellor of the Exchequer (U.K.);
Professor John Davis, president of All Souls College (University of
Oxford); Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Govenor of the Central Bank of Malaysia;
Dr Mary Redmond, deputy governor, the Bank of Ireland Group, Dr Erio
Ziglio, Regional Director (Europe) World Health Organisation; Edward
Goldsmith, Editor in Chief, The Ecologist and others from business,
politics and education.
There is no world body with the specific task of generating new ideas
and providing a platform for new thinking. This meeting at UNESCO was
intended to work towards the establishment of just such a body
a World Centre for New Thinking," Dr de Bono said.
Two overlapping organisations are being suggested. One is the World
Academy for New Thinking (WANT), which would be an association of those
who believe in the need for and importance of new thinking. The second
organisation would be the World Centre for New Thinking, a physical
building that would serve as a base for task forces, negotiations, forums,
round tables, training in creativity, and similar initiatives. "This
World Centre would provide a platform for new ideas from any source,
and generate ideas of its own," Dr de Bono said. "This centre
could be based in Malta, where the government has offered an historic
site, which requires around $25 million for restoration and refurbishment.
The centre could also be based in any other country that offers suitable
The idea is that this World Centre for New Thinking would provide a
home base for the Academy, and in turn, the Academy would provide an
advisory council for the centre. "The world needs new thinking
in many areas," Dr de Bono said, "but where is this new thinking
to come from? Our inaugural meeting was designed to provide a practical
answer to that question. New thinking may well be the missing ingredient
in conflict resolution, problem solving, economic development, and designing
the way forward. Information, analysis, judgement and argument are most
valuable, but they may not be enough. Our existing habits of thinking
are based on recognising standard situations and providing standard
answers. Such thinking has served us well in science and technology,
but not very well in human affairs."
So what is new thinking? Dr de Bono explains it by saying
that analysis may not be enough, because it recognises known concepts
and perceptions, but does not create new ones. You cannot always solve
problems, he says, by finding and removing the cause of the problem.
There is sometimes a need to design the way forward even if the cause
of the problem cannot be removed. "Often the sheer sequence of
events locks us into thinking which seems to be correct at each step
of the way, but which is not the most effective at the end," he
says. "To some extent, language is the biggest barrier to human
progress, because words reflect perceptions at a point in the past.
These perceptions are frozen into language and control our perceptions
ever after. Perception becomes real even when it is not reality."