Edward de Bono's
5-Stage Thinking Structure

In 1 Cor. 14:20, we are exhorted not to be children (but to be mature) in our thinking and in 1 Cor. 2:16, we are told that we have the mind of Christ thus we are able to judge, appraise and evaluate all things.

Is there a difference between "Christian thinking" and "non-Christian" thinking? If so, what's the difference?

In my opinion, the difference lies in our beliefs and values. The values and beliefs of the world are contrary to God (1 John 2:16). The decisions made as a result of our thinking should not be contrary to the Bible.

What should be our beliefs in planning?
The plans of the heart belong to man,
But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.

The mind of man plans his way,
But the LORD directs his steps.
Prov. 16:1,9
Prov. 16:1 states that God must give the ability to accomplish our plans while Prov. 16:9 acknowledges that while we can (and should) plan for the future, God is in control of our lives.

However, I believe there is no difference in the use of tools and techniques; Christians should not hesitate to use thinking skills.

The following five-stage thinking structure provides a series of sequential steps that can be applied to most thinking situations. Though not unique, de Bono has created a memorable framework of To/LoPoSo/Go.

I have attempted to relate this useful structure to the six thinking hats and the thinking tools in the CoRT Thinking Program which is designed for use in education.

To To Where ... Are You Going?
  • What are your AGO (Aims, Goals & Objectives)?

  • What is the desired outcome or purpose of your thinking?

  • Blue Hat: Think of yourself up in the blue sky looking down ... having an overview and controlling the thinking process ... where are you now and where would you like to go?
Lo Lo and Behold ... the Facts
  • What are some key related facts?

  • CAF (Consider All Factors)

  • What information is missing?
    How can you get the needed information?

  • White Hat: Think of a white piece of paper on which you are going to write down objective facts
Po Possibilities ... Generation of Ideas & Alternatives
  • Brainstorm to arrive at alternatives

  • What are the APC (Alternatives, Possibilities & Choices) of actions?

  • Green Hat: Think of green grass growing ... and you growing ideas and alternatives

  • No criticism of any idea at this stage
So So What? ... Evaluate & Select
  • Does it meet the AGO established in the first stage?

  • Yellow Hat: Think of the yellow sun ... full of hope and optimism for what is proposed ... what are the benefits and advantages of the proposals?

  • Black Hat: Think of total darkness ... black and gloomy outlook for the proposals ... what are the difficulties, costs and risks involved?

  • Do a PMI (Plus, Minus & Interesting) on each proposal

  • Red Hat: Think of yourself next to a fire ... feeling the warmth ... what is your gut feeling on the proposed alternative right now?

  • Consider OPV (Other People's Views)
    Without consultation, plans are frustrated,
    But with many counselors they succeed.
    Prov. 15:22
  • Consider C&S (Consequences & Sequel) of implementation

  • Select an alternative and build an implementation
Go Go ... Let's Go into Action
Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
Prov. 3:5-6

Commit your works to the LORD
And your plans will be established.
Prov. 16:3

© 2003 Alan S.L. Wong | Updated February 2005