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LATERAL THINKING

Introduction; Creativity, thinking, Creative


Thinking.
Lateral Thinking.
Concept &concept fan
Creative Pause
Creative Focus
Creative Challenge
Provocation & Movement
Perception broadening skills: CAF, CS

LATERAL THINKING
Edward De Bonos interest came from three sources:
1. Studying psychology in Oxford resulted in some
interest in thinking.

2. Using computers to carry out the analysis of blood


pressure to estimate the obstacles in the artery resulted
in an interest in creative or perceptual thinking
3. Medical research at Harvard on how the body
regulate blood pressure led to an interest in selforganizing system.

LATERAL THINKING
The three stands for the other son of
thinking: 1. Thinking,
2. Perceptual or creative thinking,
3. Self organizing system.
the other sort or son of thinking, means:
not linear, sequential, and logical.
It was explained: we need to move
laterally to find other approaches. This
led to substitute the lateral thinking for
the other son of thinking.

LATERAL THINKING
Lateral thinking in the concise Oxford Dictionary:
seeking to solve problems by unorthodox or
apparently illogical methods.
The key word is apparently. It means: the methods
may seem illogical but derived from the logic of
patterning system.
The simplest way to describe lateral thinking is:
you cannot dig a hole in a different place by
digging the same hole deeper.
This emphasizes the searching for different
approaches & ways of looking at things

Vertical thinking

EARTH

With Vertical thinking: building up from


a base or digging deeper the same hole.
With lateral thinking we move
sideways, we try different perceptions,
different concepts, different points of entry.
Cutting across patterns in a self organizing
Side track
information system.
Lateral thinking

Main track

In lateral thinking; all different views that


are not derived form others are correct and
can coexist.
Lateral thinking has to do with exploration
just as perception, walk around the
building, and take photographs from
different angels, all are equally valid.
Normal logic is concerned with truth &
what is. But lateral thinking is concerned
with possibilities, & what might be
Today logic is fuzzy logic because no
sharp right & wrong boundaries. -

Lateral thinking is used in two meanings:


1. Specific; a set of systematic techniques used for
changing concepts & perceptions

2. General; exploring multiple possibilities &


approaches.
The changing of concepts & perceptions is the basis
of creativity that involves new ideas, Creativity has
very wide & confusing meanings, while lateral
thinking is very precise. Creative thinking is
concerned with new concepts & perceptions.
Lateral thinking is concerned with the specific
techniques & tools that are used for getting new
concepts.

Lateral thinking
1.General: exploring multiple
possibilities

2. Specific:
Changing concepts & perceptions

Creativity
1.New things, 2.value, 3.bringing
something into being.

Benefits of lateral thinking


1. Liberate and harnesses the creative
energy of an individual or a team.
2. Provide a language to guide idea
generation.
3. provide the confidence and the tools
to help us to seek different and better
alternatives in any given situation.

The PMI
It is an attention-directing tool, in which we direct
our attention towards the plus points, then the minus
points, & finally the interesting points.
P: stands for good points (plus)
M: stands for bad points (minus)
I: stands for interesting points
The PMI sets the mood of objectivity and scanning.
1. example: what do you think if you receive 5$ a
week for going to school? After scanning they
change their judgment.

PMI tool

s
u
pl

minus
inte

rest

ing

The criteria is: cars should be painted


yellow:

P:
Easier to see on the road
Easier to see at night
No waiting to get the color
Easier for the manufacturer
M:
Boring
Difficult to recognize your car
Hard to find your car in the car park
Easier to steal cars
Restriction for your freedom to choose
I:
Interesting to see if different shades of yellow arose.
Interesting To see whether attitudes toward cars changed

The use of creative thinking


1. Improvement: the biggest use of creative
thinking, finding a better way of doing
something.
better has many meanings, we have to clarify
it; it can be lower cost, or fewer errors, or
humanly satisfying way.
It is important to define the direction of
improvement; Western perspective (removing
defect, overcoming problems, putting faults
right), but Japanese notion are able to look at
perfect then set about improving it.

2. problem solving: if standard approaches


cannot provide a solution, then there is a
need for creative thinking. Even standard
approaches can provide a solution, still there
is a need for better solution.
3. value & opportunity: there was time when
efficiency & problem solving were enough,
but today these just provide the baseline, the
purposes now; how to design new products,
how we can add value, what are the new
markets.

4. The future: creative thinking is required to


foresee the consequences of the action.
And Creativity is required for laying out the
possible future.
5. Motivation: creativity is a motivator, because
it makes people interested in what they are
doing. Giving hope in worthwhile ideas, giving
possibilities of some sort of achievement.

Concepts & concept fan


Concepts: general method involved.
Idea: the practical way of doing something.
For example: you are going to travel along a certain
road.
The concept is travel, The idea is the specific
mode of travel and here is: walk, ride a bicycle,
drive a car, catch a bus.
Example 2: you are going to reward your salesman.
what are the fixed points?The fixed point is the
expression of the concept.
The fixed point is the concept of concept of
motivate

Or the concept of giving commission.


You should be very clear and specific about the
precise concept and expression of the concept then
you look for alternatives.
For example: if the fixed point is defined as
motivation. What are the alternatives? Is the fear
is one of them?
If the fixed point is reward, then fear is not an
alternative.
if the fixed point commission, so random reward
is not alternative.

Fixed
point
reward

Fixed point
motivate

Fixed point giving


commission

Concept
Improving
products

Random reward

Fear

Percentage on
sale

alternative

alternative

alternative

Fixed point
reward

Fixed point
motivate
Fixed point
giving
commission

money
Fix
ed

t
Fixed point

status

t
p o in

t
n
i
o
p
d
e
x
Fi

Concept of
promotion

Fixe
d

power

poi n

Fi
xe
d
p
oi
nt

recognition
responsibility

e
v
i
t
a
n
alter

Job titles
alternative
alternative
alterna

alterna

a
l
t
e
rn
a
t
i
ve

Sense of
achievement

tive

t i ve

money

power
status

responsibility

recognition

idea
ladder

idea
Raising me
off the
ground

Standing on
the table

rn
e
t
al

ve
i
t
a

People lift me
up

Lengthen my
arm

rn
e
t
al

ve
i
t
a

Reducing the
distance
between
object&
ceiling

Have the object


travel by itself

Fix
ed p
oint

Attaching
something to the
ceiling
ive
t
a
rn
e
t
l
a
Broad concept

The concept fan


In this example we see that there are two
layers of alternatives, we go from an idea
(ladder)to a concept, which becomes the
fixed point for the other ideas, but we also go
from the concept itself to a broader concept
which becomes the fixed point for alternative
concepts. Each of these new alternative
concepts becomes a fixed point for alternative
ideas, the process is called a concept fan.

The concept fan is an achievement technique.


How do we solve the problem?
How do we achieve the task?
How do we get somewhere we want to go?

If we have a purpose in our thinking, then we


have the broad concept that leads to this
objective, so if we have the objective: coping
with a water shortage. Then the approaches or
directions might be each of these broad
concepts, or direction, & they become the
fixed points for finding alternative concepts.

Direction: very broad


concepts or
approaches.
Reduce consumption of water
Broad concept

Increased supply of water

dir
ec
ti o

direction
n
it o
c
e
r
di

Broad concept

Do without water
Broad concept

Coping with a
water shortage
objective

Increased efficiency of use

Concepts: general method


of doing something

Discourage use

Reduce consumption of water


Less wastage
New sources
recycling

Increased supply of water

New tools
Stop water using

Do without water

Substitute other substance


Avoid need to water

Concepts

Direction

Ideas: specific concrete ways of


putting a concept into working

Meter the water


Publish names of
heavy users

Discourage use

Charge for water use


raise
1 liter water 4 1
person
Limited water 4
gardens
Learning how 2
use
Threaten 4 wasting water

Increased
efficiency of use

Less wastage

Reuse water
Cleaning by swimming
pool water

ideas

concepts

The creative Pause


The creative pause is the simplest of all creative
techniques, but it can be powerful.
The pause should be a mental habit for creative
people.
The creative pause:
The interruption in smooth flow of routine in
order to pay deliberate attention at some point.
There is no problem, you pause in your thinking
because you want to.
It is not in reaction, but in the result of your
intention to pause.

There should be no reason, because when you start


looking for reason, you will only pause when you
find a reason, this will destroy the whole purpose of
creative pause.
Motivation:
You should have an initial motivation, otherwise
you would never bother to develop the habit.
It is not a result of a sudden inspiration that has to
follow through.
if you walk quickly along the road, you will not
notice the wildflowers, unless you pause & pay
attention, then their simple beauty will reward you .

Not every creative pause is productive, but you


continue to invest in creative effort, the reward
start to flow.
The creative pause should not be allowed to
interfere with the main purpose, it may be
personal.
The use of the creative pause:
The main point: to give attention to something &
to place it in your mind as being worthy of
attention, as you become more skilled, a short
pause may suggest a better way of doing
something.
Creativity is the occasion where thinking slowly is
an advantage.

How to use it:


You pause to think & to wonder for a moment -30 seconds
as an individual & two minutes as a group- then move on.
You can return to the point later.
There is no pressure to get an instant result.
It is almost like saying thats interesting, then moving
along.
Proactive:
The creative pause is an important proactive thinking habit;
I want to notice that. I want to pay some attention to
that. That needs thinking about.
Is there another possibility here?.

The Creative Focus


Simple focus: is a very powerful creative tool.
You focus on something that no one else thinks
about it, in such cases even a little focus can
produce spectacular results. It is a virgin territory.
There are inventors who succeed by tackling hard
problem, & coming up with the wanted solution.
But there are inventors who pick out areas that no
one noticed, with slight improvement can develop
a significant invention.

Seeking out unnoticed focus points is a


creative techniques.

The creative pause & the simple focus overlap. The


creative pause is willingness to stop for paying
attention, while the simple focus is a deliberate effort
to pick out a new focus point. The common is
thinking in things that do not demand thinking.
There are some steps for simple focus:
1. put a list of possible focus points.
2. doing a pretest around 3-5 minutes to generate
some ideas.
Using formal techniques of lateral thinking in
putting serious effort to generate ideas.
The simple focus process and creative pause are parts
of everyday creativity.

Specific focus: is a defined focus,


The systematic techniques of lateral thinking are now
applied seriously, deliberately, & formally in effort to
generate new ideas.
There are tow types: general-area-type focus, & purpose
type focus.
I. General-area-type focus: defining the general area in
which we want some new ideas. F x; I want some new ideas
of restaurants.
Why we need general-area-type focus?
Firstly; it allows us to think creatively about anything at all,
it doubles the scope of creativity because there is no
problem.
Secondly; the definition of a purpose can preset the sort of
ideas we might have.

If there is no given purpose, then how do we get


useful ideas?
1. We turn up ideas that are useful in their own right.
2. We examine these ideas to see which ideas offer
value in the field we are interested.
2. Purpose focus:
This type is very familiar to everyone.
Improvement: an attempt to improve in a defined
direction. F, X: we want ideas to reduce the wastage
of food in the restaurant.
Problem solving: we have to overcome a difficulty. F,
X: how can we deal with street violence.
Opportunity: It is a sense of potential & opportunity.

The Questions
1. write down al-fatiha with creative pause.
2. write down examples about the three
kinds of focus (related to universities)
3. practice creative challenge on the idea of
giving Zakat as a solution of poverty.

Creative challenge
The creative challenge is one of the most
fundamental processes of lateral thinking, it is not
an attack, or criticism, or attempt to show why
something is inadequate, it is a challenge to
uniqueness: Is this the only possible way?.
There is something very special about it, Why is it
done this way? Are there other ways of doing that?
Firstly; the creative challenge is totally different
from critical challenge, the critical challenge set out
to criticize, judge, find fault. The creative challenge
is a challenge to uniqueness

It is referred to as creative dissatisfaction, it


conveys the notion of not being happy with
accepting something as the only possible way.
It is important to be clear that the creative
challenge is not a criticism, because:1. If they are
the same, then we should challenge just inadequate
things.2. if there is no inadequacy then there is no
other way suggested. 3. attack will engender
defense, wasting time in attack & defense.
The usual Western sequence is: attack, criticize,
looking for alternatives. The non-Western
sequence; acknowledge the existing, seek possible
alternatives, then compare them.

There is a supposition that the current way is the


best, because:
it has survived over time, & been tested, & its
faults have been removed,.
The creative challenge refuses to accept this view,
it assumes that the current way is just one way.
The creative challenge is usually expressed as
why. But the answers are not essential. The
most important thing is why it has to be done in
the only way.
The next step: this is the search for alternatives.
There are 3 elements here.

--------------------------------Block

Escape

Drop

1. Block: if we block the current path, we are forced to


find an alternative.
2. Escape: If we escape from some dominating idea,
then our mind is freed up to consider other
possibilities.
3. Drop it: if we feel we do not need this method, just
drop it.
Continuity analysis: why do we do things as we do?
There are numbers of answers:
It was the best way to do & still.
We are afraid of the cost of change.
We have always done it in this way, There is no need,
no pressure to change
All these bring the notion of continuity.

What is the current situation


Sample checklist for current
thinking

Example: exercise:
Focus statement: Challenge traveler room for
business traveler

WHY C, B, A

Challenge flowchart
Cut
it
Why: C
Can we
cut

Yes,
can we
satisfy
it?

Yes
t
go t hen
oA

Why B: Are
the reasons
still valid?

No,
Go to
why B

NO,
not
valid
any
more

to
o
G A
y
wh

No
keep it
as it is

Why
A:What
are the
alternative
s

Provocation
The best definition of provocation is that: There may not
be a reason for saying something until after it has been
said.
Einstein used to carry out thought experiment, f x:
what would I see if I were traveling at the speed of
light. Provocation is similar thought.
Many important ideas came through chance or madness,
& have a sort of discontinuity that forced us outside
reasonableness of our experience.
with deliberate provocation we can produce the same
effects.
Provocation is fundamental aspect of lateral thinking, &
creativity.

PO, the factory is downstream of itself.


That is a provocation, the word PO is derived form such
words: hypothesis, suppose, possible, poetry. All these
words describe the forward use of an idea. The word PO
stands for provocative operation.
The problem is river pollution by factories sited along the
river. The statement PO the factory should be downstream
of itself, is illogical at first sight. But it leads to the
suggestion that legislation should insist that the factorys
input would be downstream of its own output, so it would
be the first to suffer from failure to clean up.
PO, cars should have square wheels.
PO, planes should land upside down.
PO, letters should be closed after posted

provoc
ation

How do we get across from the main track to the


sidetrack, this is where systematic provocation methods
of lateral thinking come in

Two stage process


The first stage: setting up of the provocation.
The second stage: the use of the provocation to move
forward to a useful new idea.
The sequence has to be:
1. choosing the creative focus.
2. setting up the provocation.
3. using the provocation.
Using provocation involves a special mental
operation called movement, when we learn
movement we can proceed the method of setting up
provocation. .

Movement

Movement: is the central to creativity, It is


impossible to be creative without having some skills
at movement.
When the information come to the mind, the brain
allows it to be organized in patterns, perception is the
original formation & subsequent use of the patterns,
it recognizes & monitor, here judgment comes in.
The difference between judgment & movement is
that: in judgment we reject the idea that doesnt fit
our existing patterns, in movement; we are not
interested in whether the idea fits or not, we are
interested solely in where we can move from the
idea. We seek to move forward.

judgment

Movement

Movement is fluid & concerned with: to, where does this lead to, it is a
pan of water logic with its flow & fluidity, it comes under the green hat

The use of movement

At this moment, we are considering the use of


movement in order to move forward from a
provocation to a useful new idea, without movement
there is no sense in using provocation.
The general sense of movement means the
willingness to move forward in a positive exploring
way rather than stopping to judge whether something
is right or wrong.
The general attitude of movement is important,
someone says something, one person judges whether it
is wrong or right, anther person is interested in what
statement leads to. The first is wearing the black hat ,
the other is wearing the green hat.

There are two broad ways of using movement;


general attitude & systematic techniques.
General Attitude: the general willingness to
move forward from a statement or
provocation.
Systematic Techniques: there are five
systematic techniques for getting movement
from a provocation or statement.

. 1. Extract a principle: you take something from


the provocation, & completely ignore the rest,
then proceed to work with what you have
extracted, you seek to build an idea around this
principle.
F, Ex: An advertising agency was seeking a new
advertising medium. A provocation was
suggested; PO, bring back the town crier.
Is it useful in modern city? & why?
What principle do we see in a town crier?
- The town crier can go to where the people are.
(reachable, removable)

- The town crier can change the message


according to the audience.(controllable)
- The town crier can answer questions (active)
-You cannot switch the town crier off (persistent,
continual).
-We choose the last one, so now you forget all
about the town crier, & look around for a medium
that would not be able to turn off.
The idea would be to have public telephones that
made no charge for a call, because conversation
was interspersed with advertising messages,
advertisers will pay for these messages, & the
caller will get free messages, & free calls.

2.Focus on the difference: here


the provocation is compared
with the existing idea of doing
things, the points of difference
are spelled out, & pursued to
see if they might lead to
interesting new ideas The
provocation: PO, stamps should

This difference of long


dimension
The length of the stamp might
be proportional to the value of
the stamp.
This suggests that a unit of
length might represent a unit of
value on the stamp, so no need
to put a value on the stamp.

3.Moment to moment: We imagine the


provocation being put into practice, we
visualize what is happening, moment to
moment, it is like watching a videotape.
PO, cars have square wheels.
We imagine the car starting to roll, the
square wheel rises up, which leads to bumpy
ride, now the suspension anticipates &
adjusts, this leads to the concept of adjusting
suspension, this in turn leads to the idea of a
vehicle going on rough ground. This leads to
the idea of intelligent suspension, today
several companies such as (GM) is using
this system.

4. Positive aspects: The simplest of the movement


techniques, it is yellow hat, we look directly to any
benefit in the provocation, what values are immediately
present? We are interested in what is directly present
rather than what the provocation might lead to. We take
this value & move forward to new ideas. F, Ex: PO,
cars should have their engines on the roof. The positive
aspect: equal weight distribution on both axles. More
space in the car .
Less impeded air flow for cooling.
From this might come the idea of a shorter mid engine
car, with passengers sitting above the engine platform.

5.Circumstances: under what circumstances


would this provocation have a direct value?
In flooded conditions, a car with the engine
on roof would have a direct value, because
it would be possible to drive in deeper water
without affecting the engine. PO, drinking
glasses should have rounded bottoms.
Under what circumstances would rounded
bottoms have a direct value? You could not
put down the glass until you finish. So the
bar can sell more drink.

Focus on
the
differences

Moment to
moment

The spouse
may ask: why
yellow?

Positive aspects

Making
declaration 2
himself, &
trying 2 live up
2 this

Is it better 2
give talent 2
ambitious?

Extract a
principle

Displaying the
career ambition

PO. Everyone
who wants to be
promoted should
wear yellow
Anyone prefer 2
go 2 those
wearing yellow
cause service will
be better
Circumstances

Setting up provocation
There are two methods of setting up
provocation.
1. The escape method.
2. The stepping-stone method.

1.The escape method


The first step: spelling out something
we take for granted
The next step: to escape from what we
have taken for granted. F,ex; we take
for granted that restaurants have food.
Provocation: PO, restaurants do not
have food.
Movement: moment-to moment
technique; people bring their food,
restaurants are the place for indoor
picnics.

We take 4
granted
restaurants
have menus.
PO,
restaurants
do not have
menus.
So,
restaurants
serve food
as buffet.

We take 4 granted
restaurants charge
4 food, PO,
restaurants do not
charge 4 food.
So restaurants
could charge 4
time.

We take 4 granted restaurants


provide plates & cutlery. PO,
restaurants do not provide
plates & cutlery.
So you take your own.

2.The stepping-stone method:


To carry out some mechanical
operation on some thing that exists.
Visualize that on a walk you come to
a stream you have to cross, the first
step is to pick up a large stone &
throw it into the middle, the second
step to use the stepping-stone to get
across. You should make sure you do
not use the escape but reversal
provocation

The telephone
rings when
there is a call.
PO, the
telephone rings
all the time and
falls silent
when there is a
call

I have orange juice


4 breakfast. PO,
the orange juice
has me 4 breakfast.
- Visualize a huge
glass of orange
juice into which I
fall

The caller pay 4


the telephone
call. PO, the
receiver is paid
for answering the
telephone calls.

We can choose the perfume that


would scent the shower water

CAF considering all factors


an attention directing tool

Buying a
secondhand
car

C&S
The C & S thinking task is an instruction to
consider the consequences of an action, four
times are suggested; immediate
consequences up to 1 year, short term from
1 to 4 year, medium term from 5 to 20 years,
long term over 20 years.