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Edward de Bono at the University of Malta 2015

On Feb. 9, 2015, Edward de Bono, one of the world’s leading thinkers in creativity, gave a talk at the University of Malta’s Institute for Creativity and Innovation named for him. During the session, he covered his ideas on lateral thinking, argument and why the world needs new thinking habits.

“The most significant behavior of the human brain is humor,” says de Bono. Humor indicates a patterning system. “Patterning systems are very important.”

De Bono had the group exploring the Random Word, Provocative Operation (PO) and Blocked by Openness techniques during his talk. Each technique introduces something into the situation that seems ridiculous or unrelated. The Random Word is just what it sounds like. As people are discussing the solution to a problem, a word is chosen at random and related to the problem at hand. The point is to find a word that will spark a change in thinking.

The PO allows the participant to say something that doesn’t make sense by itself. The group is then supposed to move forward from that idea. There is no judging of the idea, just moving forward from it. The example that de Bono gave was a question that came up when discussing a factory’s waste contaminating downstream. “What if the factory was downstream of itself?” While this seems a bit ridiculous, what it did was inspire legislation in several countries that required factories to dump their waste upstream of the factory. Factories then had incentive to keep the river clean.

The idea behind being Blocked by Openness de Bono explained by describing the main roads as free of traffic. Going down the main road because it is so open would limit anyone from taking the side roads. In essence the side roads would be blocked by the openness of the main road. Oftentimes, our brains use a concept to make things easier. In Blocked by Openness, it is important to find out what that concept is and then challenge the brain not to use that concept.

“The key thing is movement,” says de Bono, “movement as distinct from judgment.”

While judgment says an idea is wrong, lateral thinking moves forward from the wrong idea rather than criticizing it. For 2,400 years, people have been using argument as the key discourse tool. The problem is that argument consists of proving people wrong and holding onto and protecting a concept. It uses destruction as its essential tool, and it lacks creativity. Argument is not an effective way of exploring a topic.

De Bono created the 6 thinking hats as a different way to approach a problem. Everyone wears the same hat at the same time, and then examines it from that hat’s perspective. Someone who is critical of the idea but wearing the yellow hat would still need to see what is good about the idea. De Bono says that the process actually saves time.

De Bono says that the fear of mistakes and lack of incentive to try out new ideas are the greatest inhibitors to the adoption of creative ideas.

“We’re all brought up to avoid mistakes at all costs,” says de Bono. Trying even one new idea a year in business would help.

Too much of what people do when it comes to thinking is using normal processes without trying to go beyond those processes.

“Caveman thinking consists of recognizing a standard situation and then providing a standard answer,” says de Bono. “Most of our thinking is that.”

De Bono is working on his 85th book about “Bonting,” which focuses on thinking that creates value.

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Coupon for Salem Holiday Market 2018

If you’re headed to Salem Holiday Market, have we got a deal for you? Yes, in fact, we do. In fact, we have two! The first one, you just need to download. A coupon that will get you $1 off of admission! Here it is:

Just print and bring with you!

The next deal, you need to join our Patreon for. All our Patreon Penguinators at any level get $1 off every $10 they spend at our booth! That’s in addition to any other discounts offered! Join today and lock in your discount!

If you want to make sure you have a penguin reserved for you, be sure to preorder. We look forward to seeing you on Dec. 7, 8 and/or 9, 2018! (And so do our penguins!)

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‘Luv’ Opens the Lines of Communication at Southwest Airlines

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  While attribution of this quote is problematic, Southwest Airlines has taken the message to heart.  Starting with “Luv,” Southwest Airlines employees and guests are treated with respect and care.

Love helps to open the lines of communication by softening people’s defenses.  When people know that their managers care about them as people, they are more likely to reveal problems more quickly.  Information is able to move faster, which allows problems to be solved before they can get out of hand.

Part of caring for people is listening to them.  When someone really listens, the person who is speaking feels valued.  For leaders, this quality is invaluable.  It is also critical for the people who handle complaints to listen.  Sometimes, that simple act followed by an apology can help create enough good will that the person making the complaint will be more open to a solution that is equitable for all involved.

By providing guests with information about  why a flight has been delayed, Southwest is able to express their love for their customers.  Everyone in the organization is aware that without flyers, there would be no airline.  Creating an atmosphere where there can be no complaints is difficult, and when a situation arises where a legitimate complaint is made, it is important to listen to the person before trying to solve the problem.

All information is compiled from “Nuts! Southwest Airlines’ Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success” by Kevin and Jackie Freiberg.

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Communication Keeps Southwest Airlines Flying High

Southwest Airlines has built a culture based on communication. Chairman Herb Kelleher insists on absolutely honest communication with employees. When Southwest started in Texas, they faced impediments to starting up that were instigated by the competition, but they succeeded in getting the proper authorizations to run flights in Texas.

In order to keep prices low, the airline had to turn its planes around in ten minutes. The industry said it was impossible. Because Southwest employees did not know it couldn’t be done, they were able to turn planes around quicker than any other airline.

The standard turn around for Southwest is now 15 minutes because airports have become more congested. The effort to get a plane turned around in that time requires open communication and teamwork from all employees on the plane – even the pilots help unload the baggage. Southwest has cultivated a casual atmosphere that has allowed employees the opportunity to talk to their managers and those higher up in the company. It is this casual atmosphere, as demonstrated by their uniforms and the fact that everyone uses first names, combined with the empowerment of employees that allows the company to make decisions quickly.

Kelleher has a reputation for thinking and talking straight. His honesty and actions have allowed employees and unions to negotiate in good faith with one another. When the pilots agreed to have their pay frozen, Kelleher froze his own pay. It is actions like these that help employees know that the company is a team. It isn’t employees versus management. It is everyone working together to create a better, more profitable company.

All information is compiled from “Nuts! Southwest Airlines’ Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success” by Kevin and Jackie Freiberg.

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Speakers’ Club, Nov. 10, 2018

Speakers’ Club Rules?
Win, Lose or Draw:
Three of these things:

Baby, It’s Cold Outside:
Written in 1944 by Frank Loesser to perform with his wife at parties.
Haley Reinhart and Casey Abrams:

I really can’t stay – Baby it’s cold outside
I’ve got to go away – Baby it’s cold outside
This evening has been – Been hoping that you’d drop in
So very nice – I’ll hold your hands, they’re just like ice

My mother will start to worry – Beautiful, what’s your hurry?
Father will be pacing the floor – Listen to the fireplace roar
So really I’d better scurry – Beautiful, please don’t hurry
Maybe just a half a drink more – Put some records on while I pour

The neighbors might think – Baby, it’s bad out there
Say, what’s in this drink? – No cabs to be had out there
I wish I knew how – Your eyes are like starlight now
To break this spell – I’ll take your hat, your hair looks swell

I ought to say no, no, no – Mind if I move in closer?
At least I’m gonna say that I tried – What’s the sense in hurting my pride?
I really can’t stay – Baby don’t hold out
Ah, but it’s cold outside

I’ve got to get home – Oh, baby, you’ll freeze out there
Say, lend me your coat – It’s up to your knees out there
You’ve really been grand – Thrill when you touch my hand
Why don’t you see – How can you do this thing to me?

There’s bound to be talk tomorrow – Think of my life long sorrow
At least there will be plenty implied – If you caught pneumonia and died
I really can’t stay – Get over that hold out
Ah, but it’s cold outside
Oh, baby, it’s cold outside
Oh, baby, it’s cold outside

Blurred Lines:

The wolf and the mouse

She and Him:
Lady Gaga and Joseph Gordon-Levitt on the Muppets:
Baby, It’s Cold Outside with Esther Williams and Ricardo Montalban, Betty Garrat and Red Skelton original:
With consent:
With kids:
Baby, It’s Cold Outside with Lyrics:

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The Moral Implications of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”

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