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Edward De Bono's Lateral Thinking

The term ‘lateral thinking’ was coined inwards 1967 past times Edward de Bono, a Maltese psychologist, physician, as well as writer. Two of his most good known concepts are lateral thinking (de Bono 1977) as well as the half dozen thinking hats (de Bono 1999).  ‘Lateral’ comes from the Latin give-and-take laterus pregnant ‘a side.’ The procedure of lateral thinking – generation of novel solutions to problems- literally agency sideways thinking.  According to de Bono (1990), data patterns are stable cognitive entities such equally concepts, ideas, thoughts as well as images, which be inwards our minds as well as which render a perspective that directs data processing/thinking/problem solving inwards a detail way. The concept of lateral thinking is insight restructuring as well as this is brought nigh through the rearrangement of information. Rearrangement is the reason of lateral thinking as well as rearrangement agency escape from the stiff patterns established past times experience. Lateral thinking is the type of thinking that aims to broaden the noesis base of operations through the generation of novel possibilities.  Lateral thinking systematically forces thinking towards insight, inventiveness as well as innovation. Lateral thinking is both an mental attitude as well as a method of using information.

Hypothesis of lateral thinking
Lateral thinking is based on the hypothesis that the human encephalon is a self-organizing data processor inwards which the output depends upon both internal as well as external surroundings as well as on previous experience. Thinking laterally deliberately disrupts the established cognitive patterns as well as the data is processed differently. The final result is the generation of   a novel perspective which is oftentimes referred to equally an ‘aha’ moment.


The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines lateral thinking equally ‘seeking to solve problems past times unorthodox or manifestly illogical methods’. Lateral thinking, according to de Bono, “tries to restructure data patterns past times putting things together inwards a dissimilar way.” Lateral thinking is ‘out-of –the-box ‘non-linear thinking to hold out differentiated from logical, extrapolative thinking. Lateral thinking is moving sideways as well as looking at problems from multiple angles as well as perspectives.

Principle of lateral thinking

To larn a dissimilar perspective on a problem, essay breaking the elements upward as well as recombining them inwards a dissimilar way (perhaps randomly).

Vertical as well as lateral thinking Bono divides thinking into ii methods: vertical thinking as well as lateral thinking. Vertical thinking involves the implementation as well as utilization of already existent ideas (“digging the same hole deeper”) whereas lateral thinking involves developing novel ideas (“digging a hole somewhere else”). According to de Bono, ii processes necessary to get lateral thinking are ‘escape’ as well as ‘provocation.’ Escape consists of rejecting assumptions as well as pre-formed concepts past times shifting perspectives as well as provocation consists primarily suspending sentence (Murray 1992). The formal ways to laid upward provocations include escape, reversal, exaggeration, distortion as well as wishful thinking.
De Bono contrasted vertical to lateral thinking inwards the next ways: vertical thinking focuses on continuity; lateral thinking focuses on discontinuity. Vertical thinking chooses, lateral thinking changes; Vertical thinking is concerned with stability, lateral thinking is concerned with instability; Vertical thinking searches for what is right, lateral thinking searches for what is different; Vertical thinking is analytical, lateral thinking is provocative; vertical thinking is concerned with where an thought came from, lateral thinking is concerned with where the thought is going; vertical thinking moves inwards the most probable directions, lateral thinking moves inwards the to the lowest degree probable directions; vertical thinking develops an idea, lateral thinking discovers the idea.

Lateral thinking methods

Alternatives – using concepts equally a breeding dry reason for novel ideas.
Focus – targeting thinking.
Challenge – breaking gratis from the limits of electrical flow assumptions.
Random entry – inserting unconnected input to opened upward up novel lines of thinking.
Provocation as well as motion – generating illogical statements as well as using them equally stepping stones to usable novel ideas.
Harvesting – capturing creative output.
Treatment of ideas – developing ideas as well as shaping them to gibe an organisation or situation.

Lateral thinking techniques

The reversing technique involves examining a work past times turning it completely simply about within out, or upside down.
The analogy technique involves developing a disputation nigh similarities with objects, persons as well as situations.
The cross-fertilization technique involves bespeak experts from other fields to persuasion the work as well as advise methods for solving it from their ain areas of expertise.
The mixing metaphors involves using a metaphor to convey a novel await to a province of affairs or problem.
The random juxtaposition involves introducing a completely novel notion to allow to a greater extent than ideas to hold out generated.

Critical factors related to lateral thinking

1.  Focus on dominant ideas that come upward to heed that polarize perception of a problem.
2. Look at the multiple perspectives of the problem.
3. Relax the logical thinking process.
4. Allow ‘outside of the box’ ideas to come upward to heed as well as hold out considered fifty-fifty though they create non gibe into the logical, scientific thinking pattern.

Steps inwards lateral thinking process

1.  Escape from clichés as well as fixed patterns
2. Challenges assumptions
3. Generate alternatives
4. Jump to novel ideas as well as so run across what happens.
5. Find novel entry points from which to displace forward.

Technique of half dozen thinking hats (STH)

This method uses half dozen dissimilar ‘natures’ of thought, each represented past times a dissimilar coloured ‘hat’(real or imaginary). The hats are designed to foster ‘parallel thinking’ during grouping work –solving efforts. The same chapeau or way of thinking is adopted past times all grouping members, hence creating a shared focus. De Bono (1999) considered the hats equally ‘direction labels for thinking.’
1. White chapeau thinking – data –based thinking – calls for facts as well as figures.
2. Red chapeau thinking – emotional thinking – clarifies emotional reactions to issues.
3. Black chapeau thinking – critical thinking – assesses the risk.
4. Yellow chapeau thinking – positive or optimistic thinking – looks at the benefits.
5. Green chapeau thinking – imaginative thinking – focuses on creative thinking.
6. Blue chapeau thinking – thinking nigh thinking – manages thinking process.

Benefits of lateral thinking

1.  Lateral thinking is essentially a problem-solving technique or useful habit of mind. Lateral thinking is searching for side entrances rather than using a front end –door approach to resolving a problem. Lateral thinking causes a shift inwards thinking or perception; it completely breaks from previous thoughts or paradigms.
2. Lateral thinking leads to innovation, which inwards turn, leads to realistic solutions. Think laterally helps to increase the attain of options or to a greater extent than alternate ideas available as well as tin oftentimes assist to overcome tricky problems. Lateral thinking fifty-fifty turns problems into opportunities.
3. Lateral thinking enhances the effectiveness of vertical thinking past times challenging the arrogance as well as the cliché-pattern of thinking associated with logic.
4. Lateral thinking develops an awareness of electrical flow ideas as well as practices; besides aids inwards the evolution of novel ideas.

Final thoughts

Lateral thinking is non mostly a natural phenomenon. It is a science that tin hold out developed through regular do as well as with a willingness to essay something different. Vertical thinking is concerned with earthworks the same hole deeper. Lateral thinking is concerned with earthworks the hole somewhere else (Edward de Bono 1977). Lateral thinking generates ideas as well as vertical thinking develops them (De Bono 1968). We are educated to hold out analytical logical thinkers. Most of our thinking is analytical, convergent, critical as well as left-brain thinking. There are many other ways of thinking or methods for exploring multiple possibilities as well as approaches instead of pursuing a unmarried approach.
                             Think laterally as well as plough problems into opportunities



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