Lateral Thinking

What is it?

Lateral Thinking is a means of achieving creative thought by extending the thinking process beyond normal limits.

When to use it

Lateral Thinking is best used as part of the brainstorming process in:

  • Developing objectives for solutions
  • Developing possible solutions
  • Developing action plans

What does it achieve?

Lateral thinking encourages the breakdown of barriers which inhibit creative thinking. We normally limit our thinking by what has been done before, or by staying within the boundaries of our present situation ie. tramline thinking or tunnel vision. To achieve total quality, it is important to step outside this routine thinking and be able to generate ideas not constrained by past or present practices and attitudes

Key steps

  • Breaking down the NO barrier
  • Random juxtaposition
  • Challenging accepted outlooks/statements
  • Six thinking hats:
    • White - Facts & figures
    • Black - Pessimism
    • Green - Creativity
    • Red - Emotion
    • Yellow - Optimism
    • Blue - Overview