Business ideas, design and judgment

Aug 21 2009 by Edward de Bono Print This Article

With judgment you arrive on an idea and then you judge it. Judgment prompts you to either accept the idea or reject it. For most aspects of life, judgment is crucial and extremely useful. The judgment of recognition allows us to make instant use of past experience and also the experience of other people. The judgment of assessment stops us making mistakes. It would be difficult to exist without judgment. So it is hardly a surprise that we put all the emphasis on truth and judgment.

There is nothing wrong with this model. On the contrary, it is highly practical and effective. However, it is not enough. Rather than accepting or rejecting an idea, you should look at ideas in terms of seeing where you can move to. Then a very different sort of usefulness is put on ideas. More emphasis needs to be put on design - for everyone.

Schools concentrate on literacy and numeracy. They should also be concerned with operacy, which is the skill of operating, or getting things done. That is nearly as important as literacy and numeracy in the real world.

I held the position of president of Young Enterprise for a number of years. This involves thousands of youngsters throughout Europe, Russia, etc, in setting up their mini-businesses. They learn the skills needed to operate a business, coming up with a business concept, devising the marketing and sales strategies, etc. Some of these youngsters are very ingenious and some of them are very successful. It is a wonderful scheme.

In a tradition going back to the early medieval times, education has tended to look down on business as money grabbing, commercial and not concerned with the higher things in life. The upper classes were not interested in business in those days because money was provided by their serfs and tenants. This attitude is absurd in today's world, however.

Youngsters in the UK today still leave school knowing the names of Henry VIII's wives and even the date of the Treaty of Utrecht but at the same time have no idea how the corner shop works or how the world of commerce operates.

All successful businesses started as a design in someone's mind. The word 'design' in its general use has an element of visual design and graphic design. Sometimes design is viewed as a sort of cosmetic luxury.

There is a real need to broaden the meaning of the word 'design' to cover all those situations where we put things together to achieve some effect. We need 'design' whenever standard routine is not enough,

Operacy is about action and the skill of thinking for action instead of thinking for description. Design is part of operacy. As with action, design always has a purpose. As with action, we set out to achieve something. Design forms the basis for action.

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About The Author

Edward de Bono
Edward de Bono

Edward de Bono (1933-2021) was a leading authority in the field of creative thinking. Over 35 years after the publication of his first book, "The Mechanism of Mind", the basic principles he outlined are now mainstream thinking in the mathematics of self-organising systems and in the design of neuro-computers. His many subsequent books have been translated into 26 languages.