De Bono states, “Concepts are the parents of practical ideas” (p. 107). For example, transportation is a concept and car is the practical idea. “When you believe you have extracted the concept from what is being said, you can check on this by asking a question: ‘It seems to me that the concept here is…Is that correct?’” (p. 111). Concepts are helpful when clarifying less familiar information or facts. Some concepts may be too specific, narrowing our thinking. Do Bono identifies different concepts, such as business concepts, customer value concepts, and delivery concept. “Concepts capture the main ‘essence’ but may not cover all aspects” (p. 118). Learning a need skill may be riddled with new concepts.
Task: List some examples of concepts in your most recent sessions with your mentor.
Let’s have a closer look at “alternatives.” They provide additional insight, improvements, simplifications, and flexibility. Do Bono writes, “The main point is that having a way of doing something does not mean it is the best way of doing it” (p. 125). There are three stages:
- The willingness to look for alternatives
- The creative effort to generate alternatives
- The assessment of alternatives (de Bono, p. 126)
Alternatives can be explored when doing something or perceiving something. How do we generate alternatives?
For action alternatives:
- Think of known alternatives
- Then ask what other alternatives may be available
For perception alternatives:
- See the situation from another perspective.
- Take the opposite of the perception.
De Bono writes, “Alternatives of action and of ideas are about the future. . . .Alternatives of explanation and perception; however, are about the present and the past” (p. 135).
Task: You are a little more than half way your project, what alternatives has your mentor offered you? What alternatives may another mentor have offered you? Discuss.