Michael’s reply:

For human survival and well-being nothing on Earth is more powerful than lateral thinking. 

Lateral thinking is our best defense against the Second Law of Thermodynamics.
Lateral thinking is critically important for the design of a safer and more productive future. But, the real problem for the future is that humans are mostly logical thinkers.


In the last millenium, the missionaries of the medieval Church spread Greco-Roman Logic around the world (the right/wrong binary system). Logic is analytical and very good at judgment. 

However, as a side-effect, it makes us very slow subjective thinkers. Today, we call this “inside-the-box thinking”.
Since I returned from the Vietnam war, I have been teaching lateral thinking continuously for 38 years because I could think of nothing more important to do. I hold the first PhD in the world in Lateral Thinking (1980), so, as you would expect, I am very much in favour of it!
In this new millenium, in a post-Darwinian, fast-changing and accelerating, hi-tech, data-processing environment we may need to escape from inside to “outside-the-box thinking”, from binary to trinary thinking. 

The purpose of lateral thinking is to create new value ... with speed. Nothing does it better or faster.
In my best-selling book Software For Your Brain (1989, ISBN 09473511088) I presented cvs2bvs as a master cognitive algorithm for lateral thinking. 

cvs2bvs (or cvsx10=bvs) is a master algorithm that creates new value through disruptive pattern-breaking, surprise, provocation and acceleration through quantum-leaping.

Important points to consider:

Lateral thinking can create new value ten times faster than logical thinking. 

The lateral thinking master algorithm is not subjective. It is algorithmic.
Like juggling, lateral thinking is not natural for humans. It is an acquired skill that needs at least ten hours of skilled coaching and practise just to achieve a basic level of skill. 

AI computing systems (being not subjective but algorithmic) are already self-programming to do lateral thinking at an exponential rate of acceleration. Better and better and faster and faster than human intelligence. 

When is comes to careers, professions and jobs, human intelligence that cannot do lateral thinking is gradually being left behind (Frey & Osborne 2016). 

This has already started to include, for example, doctors, lawyers, insurance salespeople, accountants, pilots, gamers, soldiers, sailors, sports referees, waiters, carpenters, lifeguards, drivers, retail-workers, musicians, journalists, scientists, sex-workers, pharmacists, professors, politicians, farmers, teachers, CRMs, engineers, designers, authors, artists, etc etc. 

Based on current trends, by 2030, there may begin to emerge two distinct classes of cognitive exponents (whether they be they carbon or silicon): those that can create new value through skilled lateral thinking and those that cannot. 

In terms of boardroom productivity, one class will be value fountains and the other value drains. 

Some consequences are already predictable and others will be quite unforseen. http://timmaurer.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Decision-making.jpg-300x238.png

Michael’s reply:

The first step is to teach metacognition, which is “thinking about thinking”. 

Then the tools we use to teach lateral thinking are algorithms designed to exploit the pattern-recognition properties of the human brain. Tools like cvs2bvs.
We also aim to demonstrate that thinking skill is not a merely a gift but an acquired skill that can be learned and developed through algorithms which are taught by lessons and practice, like volley-ball, guitar, chess or cooking a souffle. 
The School of Thinking motto is: No-one is ever born a skilled thinker. 
We explain that if the brain is a very powerful necktop computer (which it is) we also need to upgrade our brain software from 2500 year-old Greco-Roman Logic to more recent advances in cognitive science like lateral thinking. 
We teach ‘software for the brain’ and ‘brain apps’ like the very powerful GBB. 
One of our most powerful algorithms for people in business is: x10 thinking.

A Universal Declaration of the

Rights of Lateral Thinkers

1. As lateral thinkers, we have the right to use thinking in a quiet and confident manner simply for its own sake.
2. As lateral thinkers, we have the right to have pride of virtuosity in our lateral thinking skills.
3. As lateral thinkers, we have the right to use that skill and to consider a “lateral thinking reaction” rather than a reaction based on emotion or past experience alone. The thinking might make use of experience and emotion, but these would be part of the lateral thinking instead of controlling it.
4. A lateral thinker has the right to use new algorithms to escape from current views of situations and to search for much better views of situations because we can and because it pleases us to do so.
5. A lateral thinker has the universal right to be wrong.
6. A lateral thinker does not have to defend a point of view at all costs. There is the right to see other points of view and the right to design a much better decision.
7. A lateral thinker has the right to acquire wisdom or to seek it out wherever it may be found. Wisdom is quite distinct from the sort of cleverness that is taught in school. Cleverness may be useful for dealing with set puzzles or defending local truths but wisdom is required for creating value and designing a better future.
8. A lateral thinker has the right to get on with his or her own work and to get along with other thinkers and if things go wrong a lateral thinker has the right to think things through and to fix them without creating a fuss.
9. A lateral thinker has the right to spell out the factors involved in a situation and also the reasons behind a decision.
10. Above all, a lateral thinker has the right to be asked to think about something, to focus thinking in a deliberate manner upon any subject. Lateral thinking can be used as a tool by the thinker at will. The use of this tool can be enjoyable whatever the outcome. This applied thinking can also be practical—the sort of thinking that is required to create value and get things done.
– Adapted from the Learn-To-Think Coursebook and Instructors Manual © 1982 Michael Hewitt-Gleeson and Edward de Bono, Capra New USA.

In 2016 the best book I read, especially  for connecting the dots, was Sapiens by Professor Yuval Harari of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. It’s not only fun to read but inspiring and empowering at the same time.

Usually lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same place but it did this year when I read Homo Deus the second book by Professor Harari. I highly reccomend them to all SOT members and friends.

We’re in good company as Bill Gates does the same …

We welcome Vic Poly to the School of Thinking.

Here we teach lateral thinking … as a skill.


As promised, here are the resources for you to use with our compliments:

The text: The Mastery of Lateral Thinking

The 5-Day Course:


New Smartphone Book on cvs2bvs:

School of Thinking visits the teachers and staff of Vic Poly

Personal Benefits of cvs2bvs and x10 Thinking

Jack Welch of GE and Larry Page of Google are both business leaders who use and promote x10 Thinking. In Australia organisations like Melbourne Grammar School, UNSW, SEEK, Bendigo Bank, Cabrini Healthcare and Reece are doing the same.

Not only in business and careers there are many rewards and benefits for x10 Thinkers, but also you can make even faster and better decisions regarding your wealth, health, productivity and personal security. x10 Thinking skills will help you to:

  • » Be able to see more opportunities

  • » Be better at solving problems

  • » Enjoy making decisions

  • » Be more effective at planning

  • » Offer direct feedback to the CEO

  • » Find it easier to be innovative and creative

  • » Be able to take advantage of changes in circumstances

  • » Get more things done

  • » Think more efficiently and worry less

  • » Own a basis for a higher communication with others

  • » See information in new and more useful ways

  • » Get much better results

  • » Generate better and better alternatives

  • » Raise the level of every other thought-based skill you possess

  • » Apply these new skills to your personal and family life.