Celebrating Dr Edward de Bono (1933 – 2021)

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We were sad to learn of the passing of our friend Dr Edward de Bono. He lived an extraordinary life, inspiring, encouraging and enabling all of us to be better and more creative thinkers. Here former Holst MD Russell Chalmers reflects on Edward's influence.

Edward de Bono

Holst’s relationship with Dr Edward de Bono started in 1995 and his support was critically important to establishing his tools and techniques in those early days. As his exclusive European Strategic Partner we worked closely together and he was always willing to support us with special events, breakfasts, senior executive briefings etc. without any fees. He was very generous with his time and his input and advice from his vast experience.

We were privileged to be involved from the earliest stages of Edward’s strategy to make his tools and techniques available widely. This meant a radical change from Edward as guru to trusting others to deliver his thought leadership. We developed a cadre of trainers taught by Edward. Ultimately expert de Bono Master Trainers were accredited directly by Edward.

'Simple + Practical = Effective'

We met often for lunch in Edward’s ‘local’ – the 5 star hotel just along from his London home on Piccadilly. The price of lunch was a small price for everything I gained from these meetings. Edward of course always had with him his personal napkin plus his clip to attach it to his tie – no ordinary napkin arrangement for him!

We think what we admired most about Edward was that despite being a towering intellect he made his tools and techniques so accessible to everyone no matter their IQ, education or cultural background. He walked the talk with one of his quotations which we used a lot – ‘Simple + Practical = Effective’. So true.

Transforming Lives

There is so much nonsense spoken about creativity and innovation implying it is almost random and dependent on an individual’s level of natural creativity and inspiration. In his presentations Edward demonstrated that anyone and everyone could be creative and in fact new ideas could literally be generated “on demand” using his tools and techniques. Despite his own IQ he emphasised that with his tools intellect was not a factor and in fact often talked about the dangers of the ‘Intelligence Trap’ as an inhibitor for the those with high IQs.

Edward literally changed peoples’ lives dramatically all over the world. One powerful example with us was our work with the Government and the long term unemployed. We developed a tailored combination of CoRT, Six Thinking Hats® and Lateral Thinking for this group of people who were really struggling to find a job. People’s ability to find, and most importantly sustain, work was literally transformed. Most importantly, so was their confidence and self esteem.

He was a huge figure and therefore leaves a huge gap behind that will be impossible to fill.

Russell Chalmers, MD of Holst 1995-2008

If you would like to learn more about the thinking tools of Dr Edward de Bono, please contact us ...

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