Expert moots centre for creative thinking

ABU DHABI - The UAE has the potential to host the World Centre for New Thinking given its liberal climate for facilitating creative thoughts, but it will require courage on the part of its leaders to initiate the step, Dr Edward de Bono, world-renowned thinking expert, said in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

By Anupama V. Chand

Published: Tue 25 Feb 2003, 2:47 AM

Last updated: Wed 1 Apr 2015, 10:26 PM

Speaking to Khaleej Times, on the sidelines of the second 'E-Education Without Borders' Conference, Dr De Bono said that such an organisation as the WCNT would foster the generation of new ideas and teach people to think about creating ideas, instead of following stereotypes that often leaves one at a dead-end.

It would also help mobilise a task-force for design conferences, and enforce lateral thinking as a way of dealing with the problems. He said the Middle East has considerable capacity to succeed in generating ideas as it is the birthplace of so many civilisations.

He said what was needed was to have a pattern of the new framework of ideas laid out for the leaders in the region that would encourage them to become more amenable to new thinking. He quoted Persian poet Hafiz and the Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him) to indicate that Islam urged its followers to seek new knowledge and be open to new ideas. He said with the present stand-off against Iraq, instead of the judgment solution, which was being favoured by the world, a design solution that looked at alternative approaches would facilitate a faster resolution.

"My advice to Saddam Hussain would be to announce that he was going to resign in two years, then imagine the United States going ahead with their present war games in the face of such a fact, they'd probably say, why can't we wait for two years?" De Bono said.
He had harsh words for the United Nations, which he said did not encourage such proclivity towards ideas, adding that smaller countries in the UN needed to stand up against the political might of big countries like the US, with their intellectual might instead of going along with their whims.

"When I suggested mediating in the Israel-Palestine crisis years ago, the UN was not in favour of my radical approach of setting up a thinking forum, which could have provided a solution long before this," Dr De Bono said.

He lamented that although thinking was fundamental to creativity, it was not something that human beings had paid any attention to in over 2,400 years. Asked about the present conference he was attending, Dr De Bono said that conferences such as this reinforced the motivation of people hosting it, provided a networking forum, helped in the generation of new ideas and consequently served an invaluable purpose.

Higher education in the UAE, he felt, needed to help prepare people for special activities and generate skills of doing.
He urged the leadership, which he felt had the right intention, not to get weighed down by the traditional way of doing things, but encourage creativity which would be of tremendous help in developing a young nation like the UAE.

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