Innovation in Higher Education With the Edward de Bono Thinking Systems

Finally, thinking skills have started to emerge in higher education as a key component of business managment degree programs. Here is a quick summary from three educational institutions that have identified the importance of design thinking (what can be) in education and what they are doing.

Luther College

Timothy Schweizer, Ph.D., Professor of Management, Economics and Business Development at Luther College is certified in the following de Bono Thinking Systems (dBTS): Six Thinking Hats, Lateral Thinking & Simplicity.

Dr. Schweizer first began teaching the de Bono thinking courses in 1998. In January 2003 de Bono courses were part of the core curriculum of the “Creativity and Systematic Innovation Abroad” class offering. This unique study-abroad class took students to Russia, London and Malta. The success of this program led to the offering of the “Thinking, Creativity and Systematic Innovation” for the January 2004 term and “Creativity and Innovation” in the fall semester 2005. The de Bono thinking courses are core components of the curriculum of these offerings. Dr. Schweizer uses the authorized materials in teaching the skills.

The course objective is to provide students with an opportunity to practice and develop skill using specific thinking tools, creativity tools, and systematic innovation tools.

“Today’s students understand the impact that change and disruptive technologies will have on their lives. They realize what they will need to know and understand after they leave school cannot be predicted. Creativity and Systematic Innovation course offerings provide students with thinking skills that position them to be ready, willing, and able to learn continually after leaving school.”
-Timothy Schweizer, Ph.D.

Texas A&M

Dr. Joyce Juntune is a lecturer in the Department of Educational Psychology at Texas A&M. She teaches graduate level courses in gifted education and undergraduate courses in creativity and child development. Dr. Juntune is also certified in our Six Thinking Hats, Lateral Thinking, and Power of Perception courses. She uses the de Bono thinking tools in two areas at Texas A&M:

  1. A communication system between faculty and administration.
  2. Required curriculum for the Creativity Studies minor developed by Texas A&M’s Institute for Applied Creativity.

The courses in creative studies – especially the de Bono thinking courses, attract students from all colleges and majors including engineering, education, psychology, agriculture, business and architecture.

The reason the university chose to use Dr. Edward de Bono’s thinking systems is because the tools can be used and applied universally to all fields of study at Texas A&M. In addition, many future employers will recognize this training-therefore adding value to the student’s resume. It’s also been the foundation of the undergraduate program in Creative Studies at the university.

“Dr. de Bono is the world’s leading authority on creative thinking. We demand the best at Texas A&M”
-Dr. Joyce Juntune

Rose State College

Joy Rupp, Executive Director of Human Resources Development at Rose State College in Oklahoma and de Bono Certified Trainer in Six Thinking Hats, Lateral Thinking, Power of Perception, Focus on Facilitation and Simplicity, has established an initiative to include critical thinking, via the Six Thinking Hats, in every syllabus and workshop for faculty and staff. She has discovered that the de Bono systems have significantly strengthened the communication between faculty and administration. The reason Rose State chose Six Thinking Hats as a solution was because it provided measurable results such as:

  • Less time spent in meetings
  • Improved decision making
  • More concise communication – fewer instances of miscommunication
  • Easier problem resolution (problems actually get solved)

This initiative has led to the plan to implement de Bono systems into the business curriculum as well. The President of the College has even suggested developing a Thinking Institute where de Bono systems will be featured. Rose State has plans for the facility in development and are beginning to shape the mission, offerings, and community service curriculum that this institute will provide.

“de Bono Thinking Systems at Rose State College is as needed as the walls that support the buildings. Without the walls the ceiling would crash down. Thinking of going back to our old ways without de Bono Thinking Systems would feel like the ceiling falling in on us.”
-Joy Rupp