When it comes to solving problems or facing new challenges, there are two possible paths: following the established rules or looking for creative and innovative alternatives. In the latter case, we are talking about lateral thinking . This term is the translation of the original concept in English, “lateral thinking”. It was created by Oxford University psychologist Edward de Bono. Lateral Thinking
vertical versus lateral thinking
Our conventional mindsets are of the vertical type. This approach is based on the logic and rationality of scientific procedures: we assimilate data, compare, elaborate hypotheses, contrast the facts with the hypothesis statement and try to draw conclusions. This model is valid in many occasions, but sometimes it is not adequate, in fact, it has a limiting component.
Vertical thinking is governed by a strictly rational analysis, while lateral thinking “breaks the logic” and tries to reflect from the imagination. Lateral Thinking
Guidelines for training our ability
It is convenient to carry out different activities than the usual ones. Thus, a scientist looking for solutions in an area of knowledge can find inspiration in contexts far removed from his field, such as sports , mechanics or poetry.
We should not think that an area of knowledge is completely defined in a conceptual framework, but there are connections with every type of knowledge. The forms of nature and mathematics are explained through fractals, some religious phenomena can be understood through knowledge of neurology and an athlete‘s sport performance improves significantly by incorporating mental relaxation techniques. In short, the procedures in some areas are applicable in others.
When we have to face a global problem, it is convenient to divide it into several parts. Thus, with the different “pieces” separated, we can freely combine them with the intention of seeking the solution to the original problem. Lateral Thinking
The creativity should not be based simply in search of things different from those that already exist, but it is necessary to incorporate the idea of utility. In this way, we are really creative if new ideas introduce a degree of pragmatism (making doors with a hexagonal shape sounds creative, but it is an impractical proposal and does not solve a problem).
In the eagerness to find new ideas, it is not necessary to interpret that the error is a failure
Often, the ultimate success of a project is preceded by a large number of mistakes.
Provocation is a lateral thinking tool. In this sense, Edward de Bono proposes to think “outside the box”. We are all conditioned by personal mental patterns immersed in a cultural tradition, but those same patterns become a prison for creative thinking .