Lateral Thinking - Simple Techniques and Methods to Learn the Art
By Andrew Loh
de Bono suggests a number of techniques to fine tuning the art of
lateral thinking. His techniques are simple and straight forward and one
can extend them to numerous situations and scenarios that are
challenging in nature. Here are three simple techniques to start
learning lateral thinking:
Applying the idea of alternatives
Children should learn how to look at different options, choices and
alternatives that usually are hidden away from their mind. If they learn
how to look at them, they can easily find best solutions to most
difficult problems. Conventional wisdom says that at least one of the
alternatives found and traced by children would lead to the most
appropriate solution. Alternative found are unorthodox and unusual and
they might even look very silly at first. However, the answers found
would be much more effective and result oriented than the one found by
using an orthodox vertical thinking method.
Applying focus and concentration
Applying focus and concentration is perhaps the
most important step in lateral thinking because finding the most
relevant solution needs immense effort and dedication. With this step,
children will not only learn how to think in a lateral way but also
master the technique of focusing and concentrating in a calibrated
manner. Focusing should be taught in such a way that all the sides of a
given problems are taken into consideration one by one and in a queue.
Problem should be treated as an immediate challenge
Children treat every problem as a viable challenge and a great
opportunity to face the truth. The solution is the truth and truth could
be found out only tackling it in a calculated manner. Challenges bring
the best out of the children and they can cajole them to think in an
effective manner. Challenges also offer an opportunity for children to
refresh their minds into a fast forward mode that sets the pace for
finding out solutions in a rapid manner.
Here are some simple examples with possible solutions:
A basket contains 10 eggs. Ten people take one egg each from the basket. However,
one egg is still left inside the basket! How is it possible?
Solution: Let the child think and concentrate to find different
alternatives. The first one is that all the eggs inside the basket were
taken by 10 people at the rate of one per each person. However, the
problem is diverted now and it refers to the remaining egg inside the
basket even after ten people taking all the eggs. The most obvious point
of interest here is the basket that held the eggs inside. The key words
are “one egg is left in the basket.” It means that the last egg was
still in the basket and the most obvious solution to the problem is that
the tenth person took the egg along with the basket.
John wins the race bit he never gets the prized trophy! Why is that so?
Solution: Assume that there three important keywords in the
problem - “John”, “wins the race” and “never gets the prized trophy.” It
means that the trophy relates something about race that could be horse
race. There are only two entities in a horse race - a running horse with
the rider and the owner who owns the horse. In horse racing, only the
horse owner gets the prize while the rider gets the kudos. The most
obvious answer to this question is that John is a horse and just because
he is so, he does not get the prize but love and affection from the
owner and the jockey.
The University of Kent
provides a classic lateral thinking question to its readers. Here is the
question (modified) - A family builds a rectangular shaped house where
each side faces the south. One day, the young child of the family sees a
bear. So what was the color of that bear?
Solution: It is obviously
white because people can find houses facing southern angle. It means
that the house is situated in North Pole region. Here, the answer is
found by using two important keywords - “south facing house” and “bear”.
By falling back on possible clues like south facing house, bear and
color of the bear, one can easily decipher the meaning of the problem as
related to the geographical location of the house. Once the reader
locates the region (North Pole).
Lateral thinking is the new and equipped technique. With this thinking, children may easily get ready to
face challenges of the new world order, where the best comes out with
the most practical and immediate solutions.
Lateral Thinking: Creativity Step by Step
By Dr. Edward de Bono
The first practical explanation of how creativity works, this results-oriented bestseller trains listeners to move
beyond a "vertical" mode of thought to tap the potential of lateral thinking. Edward de Bono has had faculty appointments
at the universities of Oxford, London, Cambridge and Harvard. He is widely regarded as the leading authority in the direct
teaching of thinking as a skill.
Dr. Edward de Bono is regarded as the leading international authority in the field of conceptual thinking and also the
direct teaching of thinking as a skill. He originated the concept of "lateral thinking," which is now officially recognized
in the Oxford English Dictionary-and which contributed to the success of the 1984 Olympic Games.