“The End of Lawyers?” and the Power of Po part 4

Part 1, part 2 and part 3.

“The End of Lawyers?” doesn’t have to be perceived as the threat. It just might be the answer. How?

Seth Godin is a much respected writer on social networking and creativity. In his blog post “A grave new world” he writes;

“Creativity changes the game, whatever game is being played. “We’re going to run out of cash by the end of the year,” is accurate unless you count creativity into the equation. Then the accurate statement is, “Under the current rules and assumptions, we’re going to run out of cash…” Big difference. “

Edward De Bono, the founder of lateral thinking and prolific writer went so far as to create a new word to enable us to step out of the reactionary dismissal of arguments and suggestions so that we can better engage with them. The word he devised is “Po”. De Bono writes in his book Conflict;

“The word ‘po’ signalled that a statement was being offered outside the judgment system and specifically for its provocation value”

Po could be simplified to “What if” but I think it is stronger than that.

Po lifts us out of the normal patterns of thinking. It does not ask “Is this a good idea?” which invites a critical progression of “…And if not, why not.” Instead, po says “Let’s just accept that the following statement, however nonsensical, however illogical is a good idea. Now, what is good about it? What would work or how would it benefit our organisation, or our clients.”

The idea, or the suggestion itself is put forward to stimulate the discussion. The idea can be discarded later once it has identified benefits or methodologies.

If we go back to the Law Society Gazette letter seen in part 2, we can see a reaction to Susskind’s hypothesis which comes from the letter writer’s judgment system which in turn stems from his experiences in the past. (“I am reminded of the enormous fun I had in my articles looking at home-made wills and their invariably disastrous consequences.”)

If we remain rooted to the past however, clinging to the way that we have always done things, then progress will be ruthless in passing us by. As Barack Obama stated, albeit in a different context, “The world has changed and we must change with it.”


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