Introducing PO

Happy Monday. 🙂

I would like to use today’s blog post to introduce you to a thinking tool created by Edward de Bonothe word PO. Here is the basic idea (here’s a great book review if you need more):

NO is a tool of logic. You use it to refute and prove things false and to clarify murky subjects.

YES is a tool of belief. You use it when you’re looking to confirm something.

The problem with YES and NO as the only two options is that they present a closed worldview in which every discussion leads to either confirmation or denial of a supposition/hypothesis. A conversation around “is this a good idea” tends to lead to either a YES or NO conclusion.

So far I’m sure you’re with me. Now here’s a third one that we’ll introduce for usage on this blog (and in your life):

PO is a tool of creativity.

PO is neither YES nor NO. Think of PO as being a combination between “consider this,” “what if?” and “let’s follow this train of thought, even though it might make no sense.” We can also combine two different things that might normally not go together at all, then use PO to force us to combine the two in a creative way. This leads to new kinds of thinking and, over time, to a general attitude of openness to new stuff. And openness is the key to success.

Basically, the point of this word tool is to expand discussion, to remind us to stay open, and to lead us to new possibilities to understand or create the future. A new word forces us into that mode when we hear it. It’s shorthand for an open, creative “what if.”

All I wanted to do was introduce this today, but I’d also like to give you guys an example that shows both how to use PO and that you can use as an exercise (leave your response to the PO in the comments below).

PO: In the future, everything can send out status messages (like people do with Twitter now). All social objects/metadata are status messages, including location, mood, “busy-ness” level, “on/off-ness” of objects, and more. For example, the oven sends you a status message when it is left on.

Where does this lead?






2 responses to “Introducing PO”

  1. Lisa Yallamas Avatar
    Lisa Yallamas

    The interface better be damn good because if the stove is going to start talking to me I’m a gonna need to talk back and its gonna have to respond at the sound of my voice (or at glance of a death stare via a screen that’s installed on the inside of my glasses so that I can do a trillion things while flying the Space Shuttle of my life. Unless the TV/Web wants to fly it for me – which I’m thinking will happen in most cases.
    This is not a unity of consciousness. This is a collection of unconsciousness.

  2. Erland Josephson Avatar
    Erland Josephson

    There’s a really incredible jazz musician, Joe McPhee, who based a whole bunch of years of work on exploring DeBono’s ideas through music. It’s quite extrodinary music.
    “by the turn of the 80s he had begun to experiment with extended instrumental and electronic techniques. Influenced by Dr Edward de Bono’s book Lateral Thinking: A Textbook Of Creativity, McPhee invented the concept of “Po Music” which he describes as “a process of provocation which can be used to move from one fixed set of ideas in an attempt to discover new ones”

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