Lateral Thinking Stimulates a $300K Business Impact
ABB Case Studies Featured at Global Creativity & Innovation Seminar
Presented by Alex D'Anci, ABB Finland.
The Finnish Process Technology Organization and Corporate Research Center have been learning and applying Dr. Edward de Bono's thinking tools Six Thinking Hats® and Lateral Thinking™ since 1995. Lynda Curtin, The Opportunity Thinker trained the group. The tools help users clarify, amplify and focus their thinking and creativity. When Dr. de Bono organized the seminar Advanced Thinking in a Changing World - How to Release Your Organizations Unused Brainpower, he invited Alps Electronics, ABB, British Telecom, and Siemens to present success stories of innovations directly attributable to thinking tool use.
ABB has been using Six Thinking Hats® tool for meeting facilitation, and Lateral Thinking™ for creativity.
Six Thinking Hats Case Study: The first case presented was a powerful application of the Six Thinking Hats® tool; improving the effectiveness of international project workshops. The case described a High Impact Project (HIP) kickoff workshop as a problem in international communications and how the Six Thinking Hats® created a uniform culture for interaction. The principle HIP members came from several different cultures, France, Germany, Sweden, Finland and USA. Communications styles can be very different, even for neighboring Scandinavian countries. The Six Thinking Hats® methodology served to break through these cultural communications barriers. Corporate Research Director Juhani Pylkkwho participated in the workshop, was pleased with the power of the tool and remarked, "With Six Thinking Hats® we gain results in two days, which with old methods would have taken at least a month." Effective communications was realized in minutes, and consensus reached quickly.
Lateral Thinking Case Study: Process re-engineering in two European Transformer factories. "First we used traditional brainstorming to get ideas from the group. When they were out of ideas, we would use various Lateral Thinking™ tools like Random Entry or Provocation to get more ideas from the group. The ideas from Lateral Thinking™ would often double the impact of the brainstormed ideas. In one case, the documented business impact from a single Lateral Thinking idea exceeded 300kUSD."
The Six Thinking Hats® method is used frequently in the Finnish Process Technology Organization, both internally and with clients. In Finland, we felt that the Six Thinking Hats® was such a good tool; we took the initiative to translate the course material into Finnish. In ABB, we feel that thinking tool training is an excellent investment.