Reading Time: 4 minutes When we solve problems, when we ideate new concepts or when we generate new ideas, we generally choose between two different approaches: the vertical and the lateral thinking one. We do this unconsciously. Lateral thinking triggers fresh ideas by changing the frame of reference continuously. In lateral mode, we view a certain subject from different perspectives.
Lateral Thinking — How to Boost Your Creativity
Vertical and Lateral Thinking
When we solve problems, when we ideate new concepts or when we generate new ideas, we generally choose between two different approaches: the vertical and the lateral thinking one. We do this unconsciously. — However, most of the time we stay in the vertical thinking mode.
Why do we bother about all this stuff? — Vertical thinking is synonymous with logical thinking. In vertical thinking mode, we carry a chosen idea forward. We come to a solution by deducting logically one piece from the other. When thinking vertically we are analytical, careful and precise, taking the data around a problem and analysing it with defined methodologies to find logical solutions.
Instead, lateral thinking triggers fresh ideas by changing the frame of reference continuously. In lateral mode, we view a certain subject from different perspectives. A lateral thinker understands vertical thinking but chooses deliberately to think outside of this bounded thought process. Lateral thinking is solving problems through an indirect and creative approach, using reasoning that is not immediately obvious and involving ideas that may not be obtainable by using only traditional step-by-step logic.
Edward de Bono coined the term of lateral thinking first. For de Bono lateral thinking is "addressing the problem always from different perspectives." ((see Wikipedia, Lateral Thinking.)) The most prominent lateral thinking technique is his "Six Thinking Hats".
Edward deBono introduced his "Six Hats" technique to address issues from all different perspectives as possible: Information: (White) – considering purely what information is available, what are the facts? Emotions (Red) – instinctive gut reaction or statements of emotional feeling (but not any justification). Bad points judgment (Black) – logic applied to identifying flaws or barriers, seeking mismatch. Good points judgment (Yellow) – logic applied to identifying benefits, seeking harmony. Creativity (Green) – statements of provocation and investigation, seeing where a thought goes. Thinking (Blue) – thinking about thinking.
Here is probably the best known and most celebrated of all lateral thinking puzzles. It is a true classic. And although there are many possible solutions which fit the initial conditions, only the canonical answer is truly satisfying.
The Man in the Elevator
A man lives on the tenth floor of a building. Every day he takes the elevator to go down to the ground floor to go to work or to go shopping. When he returns he takes the elevator to the seventh floor and walks up the stairs to reach his apartment on the tenth floor. He hates walking so why does he do it?