Edward de Bono, inventor of the idea and term lateral thinking, suggested we need to create a new type of statement, a statement that is neither true nor false, but exists purely to provoke other thoughts and ideas–anything coming out of President Trump might qualify 8D
He called such a statement a “Po” statement, even wrote a short book about it titled Po: Beyond Yes and No. (Out-of-print, rare)
By itself, a provocative statement might be total nonsense (Po: Cars have square wheels). But the point is to consider the statement anyway, to think about it and see what new ideas it provokes. The Po statement becomes a stepping stone to new ideas we might not have arrived at any other way.
In the case “Po: cars have square wheels,” that statement actually led some engineers to consider a track composed of parallel rollers. If you place a car with the square wheels on a track of rollers of the right size, you could actually get a very smooth ride. Indeed, this new idea was used in industrial setting at one point–who’d of thought?
Photo by Impact Hub