In a number of his books, Edward de Bono argues that humour is the most significant behaviour of the human mind. This is because humour, like lateral thinking, is a pattern-switching process. It works by causing what de Bono would call an "insight switchover" from a familiar pattern to a new, unexpected one. It is this moment of surprise and realization that triggers the laughter (and the new insights).
As I'll suggest in a later post, this pattern-switching characteristic of humour also has important implications for organizational dynamics. However, for now, I'll stick with its significnce in relation to the way in which new ideas are created and novelty emerges.
So how does humour work?