Lateral Thinking

The toolset of Creativity & Innovation

Learn more about Lateral Thinking, a toolset for your brain’s creativity developed by Dr. Edward de Bono, that is used around the world by businesses and individuals.

What is Lateral Thinking?

With logic you start out with certain ingredients just as in playing chess you start out with given pieces. But what are those pieces? In most real life situations the pieces are not given, we just assume they are there. We assume certain perceptions, certain concepts and certain boundaries. Lateral thinking is concerned not with playing with the existing pieces but with seeking to change those very pieces. Lateral thinking is concerned with the perception part of thinking. This is where we organise the external world into the pieces we can then 'process'.

Lateral thinking... is the process of using information to bring about creativity and insight restructuring. Lateral thinking can be learned, practiced and used. It is possible to acquire skill in it just as it is possible to acquire skill in mathematics.

Edward de Bono - from the de Bono Creativity Course

A healthy human brain does not want to always be creative, it is designed to figure out how to do things or how to think about things and then 'locks' that automatic response or behaviour into a subconscious process so that your conscious brain can focus on other matters.

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

This is why Dr. de Bono developed the Lateral thinking techniques to help overcome our natural proclivity to get 'locked' into patterns and allow you to be creative on demand. These techniques can be used by individuals and groups are used in most Fortune 500 companies as a way to develop creative and innovative ideas.

What are Lateral thinking techniques?

Lateral Thinking is a set of processes that provides a deliberate, systematic way of thinking creatively that results in innovative thinking in a repeatable manner. While critical thinking is primarily concerned with judging the true value of statements and seeking errors. Lateral thinking is more concerned with the "movement value" of statements and ideas. A person uses lateral thinking to move from one known idea to creating new ideas. I define four main catagories of Lateral thinking tools:

  • Idea-generating tools which break free your current thinking patterns from their usual pathways.
  • Focus tools that open your mind to new possibilities in the search for new ideas.
  • Harvest tools that help maximize value is received from the idea generating output
  • Treatment tools that ground the creativity process by making the wild ideas and make them fit the real world constraints, resources, and support.

"You cannot dig a hole in a different place by digging the same hole deeper".

Edward de Bono - from the de Bono Creativity Course

Often trying to think harder in the same direction may not be as useful as changing direction. Effort in the same direction will not necessarily help you achieve your goal. Lateral thinking deliberately distances itself from "vertical" or logical thinking (the classic method for problem solving: working out the solution step-by-step from the given data) or "horizontal" imagination (having many ideas but being unconcerned with the detailed implementation of them by deferring judgement).

When to use Lateral Thinking?

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

Problem Solving

Often when you are problem solving or designing something there may well be an obvious answer. If the matter is important it can be beneficial to a small amount of time to use lateral thinking to discover alternative ways of defining the problem and to start thinking about it in a broader sense. You can train your brain to be more naturally creative and discover better solutions to known problems.

Finding new ways.

It is possible that the way you do everything in your life or business is the best possible way of doing it, but not likely. Whether you have created a way of doing things yourself or have been told that 'this is the way to do this', there are likely other ways to do those things more effectively and efficiently. By using the techniques from Lateral Thinking to look for new ways to improve yourself and business you can achieve your goals.

For Inventions & Innovation

Every Inventor or Creative will at times need to focus their creativity towards the process of Invention, whether it is a patentable invention or a mobile application it will some times be thinking from a 'blank page' state, not simply being about improving what is already there. Lateral Thinking help thinkers be more proactive and confident in their thinking. When solving a problem that is not yet known lateral thinking can help you choose your starting point.

Is is time to get control of your Creativity?

Many people say that they simply do not have time to be creative. They have only just enough time to cope With the urgent demands of living and running a business, Creativity seems to imply a standing back and indulging in day-dreaming in the hope that a bright idea will come along. This is not the case. Lateral thinking may take no more than one or two minutes. You try to see things in a different way. You try to find a new approach or a new concept. And if you do not succeed you just drop it and get on with the usual way of doing things. It does not matter how short a time is allocated to lateral thinking. What is important is that some time is allocated. To allocate thirty seconds now and again is of far more use than having a mammoth creative session once a year. Like many things in life, if you want to improve it you need to work on it.

There is no doubt that creativity is the most important human resource of all. Without creativity, there would be no progress, and we would be forever repeating the same patterns.

Edward de Bono - from the de Bono Creativity Course

Because thinking is a skill that you can improve, there are tools and techniques that can help you improve your creative output. If you would like to learn how to use the tools in detail they are covered in full detail in the online course created and certified by Dr. de Bono.

Stop making the same mistakes again and again

Dr. de Bono's online course in thinking will teach you the thinking tools and lateral thinking techniques that have helped people of all levels of ability to master their thinking and stop making the same mistakes again and again.