Lateral Thinking - Deepstash

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EDWARD DE BONO

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

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Vertical thinking vs lateral thinking

  • Vertical thinking is the traditional type of thinking where one moves forward by sequential steps and where each step must be justified.
  • Lateral thinking is the process of generating new ideas. It teaches you how to look at a problem from a different angle and challenge your thinking patterns to produce better ways of solving a problem.
  • Vertical thinking is very useful for analysing facts, numbers and data. Lateral thinking is useful to solve unique problems that require innovative thinking.

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The need for lateral thinking

In the past, there was an exclusive emphasis on vertical thinking (logic or mathematics). Vertical thinking is linear, logical and produce the final solution from a series of accurate statements. 

Vertical thinking is useful, but sometimes we need to think outside the box. When vertical thinking is not getting you anywhere, you should switch to lateral thinking. Lateral thinking is important when constructing strategies or challenging old ways of dealing with a problem. 

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Train your lateral thinking

Train your lateral thinking

  • Create alternatives: More choices create better solutions.
  • Question your assumptions.
  • Quotas: Generate ten ideas a day. The more you do this, the better you will become at it.
  • Analogies: Make connections between the current situation and a similar situation.
  • Fractionation: Break something down into its components, then rebuild it.
  • Random stimulation: Put yourself into new environments outside your comfort zone, such as a conversation with someone with different views or going to unfamiliar locations.
  • Identify the main point of a book, conversation, video.
  • Brainstorm.
  • Entertain unattractive ideas.

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Brainstorming and the reversal method

Brainstorming is very effective to solve a problem creatively. Sharing ideas in a constructive environment will likely lead to an innovative solution.

  • Share ideas in a non-judgmental manner.
  • Highlight the dominating ideas and explore them further.

Another method is the reversal technique. It's based on the idea that you can change your perspective when you change the order of the words or the question. For example, "the parents are educating their kids' or "the kids need to be educated by their parents".

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CURATED BY

matclar

Diplomatic Services operational officer

Using lateral thinking for solving problems creatively

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