A Proposed Model for Professional E-Mail Groups

by Ian Pitchford

Some opening thoughts...

"There is an absolute mathematical necessity for human creativity because of the way human perception works as a self organizing information system. Such systems demand creativity and also provocation."

"...every valuable idea must always be logical in hindsight. If an idea were not logical in hindsight then we would have no way of seeing the value of that idea and it would simply be a "crazy" idea. If every valuable creative idea is indeed logical in hindsight, then it is only natural to suppose, and to claim, that such ideas could have been reached by logic in the first place and that creativity is unnecessary......I would say that over 95 percent of academics worldwide still hold this view. Sadly this view is totally wrong."

"In a passive information system (externally organized system), it is perfectly correct to claim that any idea that is logical in hindsight must be accessible to logic in the first place. But it is not so in an active information system (self-organizing system) in which the asymmetry of patterns means that any idea may be logical and even obvious in hindsight but invisible to logic in the first place."

- de Bono, 1995

I have been pondering the organizational problems of InterPsych and this lead me to pick up Dr. Edward de Bono's book Serious Creativity: Using the Power of Lateral Thinking the introduction of which begins:

"If I were to sit down and say to myself, "I need a new idea here [insert actual need area]," what should I do?

  • I could do research and try to work out a new idea logically.
  • I could borrow or steal an idea used by someone else.
  • I could sit and twiddle my thumbs and hope for inspiration.
  • I could ask a creative person to produce an idea for me.
  • I could hastily convene a brainstorming group.

Or I could quietly and systematically apply a deliberate technique of lateral thinking (such as the random word technique), and in 10 to 20 seconds I should have some new ideas"

Well I think InterPsych needs lateral thinking now and one technique is to use the provocation word PO, which is derived from words such as supPOse and hyPOthesis, together with the random word technique, so that a thought provoking statement can be formulated. I opened my Oxford English Dictionary, closed my eyes, and stabbed my finger into the book...the phrase was minister to...attend to the needs of, so we have:

PO, organizations like InterPsych should minister to...

Well, what needs, and whose needs, should InterPsych attend to?
Does InterPsych meet these needs?

In the beginning.........


De Bono, Edward (1995), Serious Creativity,
London: Harper Collins

Gardner, Howard (1985), The Mind's New Science,
New York: Basic Books

The Oxford English Dictionary,
Oxford: Oxford University Press


Ian Pitchford, Department of Biomedical Science, University of Sheffield, Western Bank, SHEFFIELD, S10 2TN, United Kingdom