Applying Edward de Bono's Principles - Lateral Thinking
By Andrew Loh
"Intelligence is something we are born with. Thinking is a skill that
must be learned." - Edward de Bono
Lateral thinking theory developed and pioneered by Dr. Edward de
Bono, provides a deliberate, well-planned and systematic process
that eventually results in creative thinking and problem solving
abilities. Lateral thinking process assists you in many ways like:
Think in a creative manner
Convert difficult problems into definite opportunities
Help increase number of ideas and new vistas by using and adapting
unconventional thinking techniques and methods.
Tap the hidden talents and skills to find solutions to problems.
Now, people may ask this common question - do we need to enhance
lateral thinking abilities in our children? The answer is very
simple as well. Your children need to improve and enhance lateral
thinking process to achieve academic excellence, professional
rewards and social responsibilities. Your children also need lateral
thinking in many other ways like:
Innovate things and ideas
Generate new suggestions
Develop new concepts
Solve problems in a creative manner
Challenge and encounter instances of status quo to arrive at
When your children apply the principles of lateral thinking, they
can also learn a number of unusual techniques and methods like:
Apply the idea of alternatives - This technique helps your children
to breed, nurture and develop new ideas and suggestions. New ideas
can lead to better thinking skills that are newer in approach. When
your children learn the method to seek solutions to a problem in an
alternative manner, they can enhance their brain with better
Let us say that your children want to cut a cake. The most obvious
method to cut cake is to use a knife. In fact, this idea belongs to
vertical thinking. More than 90% of people in the world use this
obvious technique. However, some children have the ability to think
in an alternative manner to arrive at solutions that are more
radical. One simple method used by them is to use a piece of twine
to cut the cake into two. This method is unusual and different and
it is a fresh alternative.
Apply focus and concentration - Focus and concentration are two of
the most important aspects of problem solving. Without focus, your
children can never achieve excellence in their classroom nor can
they solve any problem by using thinking processes. Training our
children to focus on the underlying problems will help them to
examine the problem in an analytical manner.
Example: Let us say that your children want to cut apples into two
pieces. They also know how to look at the problem in an unusual
manner by using lateral thinking method. Now, their immediate
concern is to focus on the problem and find solutions. They may need
to focus on the problem to look at it in different perspectives. One
of your children may like to tie the twine around the apple to cut
it, while other may like to hold the twine with their two hands and
just slice it from top to bottom.
Face the problem as a challenge - Every problem is a challenge!
Solving any problem requires effort and dedication. Your children
may need to treat problems as a challenge and treat it as immediate
priority. Lateral thinking is a potent weapon that can help your
children to solve any challenging problem.
Some of the most productive ways of encouraging your child's lateral
thinking skills is providing different puzzles, riddles and mind
games. These puzzles and riddles are an unusual way of developing
new ideas to solve any problems. They also help you create and
identify new concepts and ideas. Another benefit of using these
little tools is finding new and innovative ways to convert problems
Children who use lateral thinking will always come with unusual
solutions that are unorthodox as well. They can also make newer
discoveries that are unheard or found. For children who are adept at
solving problems by using lateral thinking, the causes of the
problems are irrelevant and unimportant. In fact, they could be
invaluable tools for solving the problems.
Lateral thinking is a very powerful tool that allows your children
to think and act outside the usual box. Many children simply fail
because they tie themselves up with a mode of thinking that is
obvious and common. Developing lateral thinking offers a number of
benefits and advantages. One of the most significant benefits is
your children's ability to find solutions to any complex problems
that are far more superior to other solutions.
By Edward de Bono
Edward de Bono is regarded by many to be the leading authority in the world in the field of creative thinking
and the direct teaching of thinking as a skill. He has written 62 books with translations into 37 languages
and has been invited to lecture in 54 countries. He is the originator of lateral thinking that
treats creativity as the behavior of information in a self-organizing information system - such as the neural
networks in the brain. From such a consideration, arise the deliberate and formal tools of lateral thinking,
parallel thinking etc.
According to Edward de Bono "Complacent, adequate, sufficient all imply
that something is not wrong or bad. Our normal language and thinking behavior does not have a convenient way
of saying: "That is excellent but not enough". Or we might need to say "That is excellent but that is only
part of the picture".