An Introduction to Lateral Thinking
Ideas Creativity

An Introduction to Lateral Thinking

Vishal Agarwal

Introduced by the renowned physician Edward De Bono in 1967 in his book The Use of Lateral Thinking. Lateral thinking is a creative thinking process which is systematic and allows you to look at difficulties or challenges from a “out of the box” point of view. You start seeing things from completely different angles. This unconventional thinking ability permitted thinkers to find inventive and off-center solutions which otherwise remain unexposed.

This breaking away from traditional ways of thinking generated new ways of ideas and discarded the already entrenched notions.

Lateral Thinking Techniques

Edward de bono introduced 7 techniques of lateral thinking that will elicit your innovation and be highly useful in solving any kind of problem

  1. Alternatives

Think and come up with concepts that will propagate new ideas and thinking processes

2. Focus

It is important to focus on the right path where you improve and breed your creativity by appending efforts.

3. Challenge

Challenging yourself and various ideas not only lets you break free from the traditional ways of thinking but also broadens your outlook.

4. Random Entry

Using unconnected input to open new lines of thinking

5. Provocation and Movement

The more you refine and develop your ideas and statements to make them more dynamic, the more you will land up on useful ideas that will be fruitful for your strategy.

6. Harvesting

When you land up on your initial best ideas, you need to give them a shape and harvest them in such a way that you can use them for various approaches later.

7. Treatment of Ideas

Lastly, harvesting your ideas will give you refined ideas that you can mold to fit a situation or work project.

Now, after having a basic understanding of Lateral thinking, you might be thinking WHY we need lateral thinking and what makes it interesting?

“If you haven’t heard of Edward De Bono or of Lateral Thinking, perhaps you have been too busy thinking in conventional ways.”

                                  -Forbes Magazine

One of the first and most important reasons for lateral thinking is:

  1. Finding new methods:

There is never a concrete way to do something. When you say “this is the way you do it” you might be wrong. Because whether there is an age-long way being practiced by man to do something, there is always a different way, a more effective way to carry out that task. When you inculcate Lateral Thinking tools and techniques into these ways, you end up improving your thinking, business and achieve your goals in a dissimilar yet successful manner.

2. Problem Solving

When you are looking at problem solving, there are conventional ways to solve the problem and there are multiple different way to define and solve the problem. When you try the latter, you broaden your outlook and think out of your schema. You do not limit your thinking to the usual answers but with lateral thinking you discover alternative ways to come up with a solution.

Sometimes these alternative solutions are much more efficient and easier than the usual ones.

3. Innovation and Invention

Lateral thinking sparks innovation. Innovation is something new and original. Something that you must have never seen before. With lateral thinking puzzles you come up with innovative ideas and sometimes these ideas lead you to inventions. With lateral thinking you become more confident about what you think and hence lateral thinking gives you a starting point to solve your problems.