Dr Hewitt-Gleeson, 31 January, 2011:
30 years ago I had an idea for a network of family thinkers.
That idea was to start the CoRT Family Network to train 300,000 ‘teachers of thinking’ around the world.
I shared this idea with Edward de Bono who wrote to me saying he thought the idea was “brilliant” and he suggested we call this project the Edward de Bono School of Thinking. The idea was to train families in the CoRT Thinking skills. We kicked it off in New York on 17 November, 1979.
This strategy of training families to be ‘teachers of thinking’ became so successful that it has led to the largest metacognition movement in the world for the teaching of thinking skills.
Value of Innovation
In business in the 80s, CEOs like Bill Gates of Microsoft and Jack Welch of GE were among the first to see the commercial value of enterprise innovation which could come from harnessing the brainpower of all of the knowledge-workers across the enterprise.
Since then, other companies like Apple, Pixar and Google have followed suit and invested in the development of employee brainpower to deliver extra value to their shareholders. Today, INNOVATION is no longer a fringe topic of conversation but is considered to be a top priority in Fortune 500 boardrooms as directors chart the future of their enterprise.
Over the years, this Family Thinkers Project has sourced, tested, created, developed and published an evolving range of metacognitive technologies including CoRT thinking skills, School of Thinking caps, universal brain software (cvs2bvs), greyscale thinking and the XIO memeplex.
These technologies are currently being used every day by many millions of individual thinkers in schools, colleges, NGOs, government bodies and small, medium and very large corporations worldwide.
Online Daily Training
In 1995 I decided to base the School of Thinking (SOT) on the internet. This was the first school on the internet. SOT online began to send out pro bono thinking lessons by email to students in over 50 countries worldwide and it still does this every day. SOT lessons have reached over 100 million people worldwide since it all began in 1979.
But here’s the question: Does it work? After 30 years, what are the consequences of my Family Thinkers Network idea? Now that there ARE hundreds of thousands of ‘teachers of thinking’ around the world who are teaching thinking every day to millions of children perhaps we should ask: what are the consequences of this? I have given a lot of thought to this question over the years and I still don’t feel satisfied that we have sufficiently explored the answer.
We do ask for and get feedback every day from our students online. Overwhelmingly the feedback is positive—better health, increased productivity, better relationships, business growth etc etc. We rarely get any negative feedback from individual students at all.
In business, companies like GE say that their business has flourished from using SOT brain software for their workers. In the early 80s I initiated a program for Jack Welch who was CEO of GE called GE XIO: How to multiply GE by ten. GE subsequently did multiply its business by ten from $35 billion to over $300 billion in the 80s and 90s.
So, from my personal experience, I’ve no doubt that SOT training can be widely distributed, creatively powerful and has changed lives. Perhaps this is the reason why we should do more scientific research to test the validity of this view.