Lateral Thinking: The Most Valuable Skill That Is Most Under Valued

Martial arts expert Bruce Lee devised a distinct and unique style of executing martial arts. It is working with the energy of the opponent rather than against it.


What is lateral thinking?

The concept of lateral thinking was developed by Psychologist Edward de Bono. It refers to the process of approaching a problem by skipping obvious methods of reasoning but exploring it through unreasoned means resulting in innovative solutions.

Asking ‘what’s that one thing we absolutely should not be done in this situation?‘ will seem a wrong question that can challenge our conventional thinking of ‘what is an advisable course of action?’

But, this is the essence of creativity and new ideas.

Traditional thinking is vertical, moving step-by-step to a logical conclusion. Lateral thinking is horizontal, with emphasis on generating many ideas while de-emphasizing the details of implementing those ideas.

Both vertical and lateral thinking are complementary. Without lateral thinking, vertical thinking would be too narrow-minded; without vertical thinking, lateral thinking would produce many possible solutions but no plans to implement them.

Psychologist Bono has developed four practical techniques for developing lateral thinking:

  • Awareness: Being aware of the way the brain processes information is the first step in lateral thinking process.
  • Random Stimulation: Allowing random outside stimuli can propel our thinking to new insights.
  • Alternatives: Even if there is a suitable solution to a problem considering alternative approaches will help us to consider a problem from all possible angles.
  • Alteration: This technique consists of the deliberate alteration of available options, like doing the opposite or reversing an implied direction.

We still believe that only vertical thinking produces talented professionals, but as mentioned earlier both vertical & lateral thinking are complimentary.

Both are equally important!