Lateral Thinking = Thinking Outside of the Box

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Lateral Thinking = Thinking Outside of the Box
Richard Townsend, United States
It seems to me, lateral thinking is not much more than thinking "outside of the box". If we start to incorporate theories as to how to laterally think, we are just creating a larger box.

Lateral Thinking is Thinking Outside of the Box
Tobias Hwara, Business Consultant, Malawi
Lateral thinking according to Edward De Bono simply means thinking out of the box: One should not follow a set procedure to solve a problem. This allows the individual to be creative. I think culture plays a very important part in shaping the way individuals think. This means we must allow our children to think out of the box all the time and not restrict them to the way things have always been done in the past.

Lateral Thinking = Using All Disciplines
Edmond Pietila, Manager, United States
To me, lateral thinking is very similar to thinking "out of the box". It is taking proven methods from other disciplines and applying them to new disciplines to solve problems.
A great example is taking a syringe (medical discipline) and use it to apply glue, paint, chemicals.
What is important is locating similar "end points" in different disciplines, then seeing if their methods can be applied in your area. we know where we want to go, so we just look at different ways to get there
Not necessarily the "normal" way (in fact, rarely a "normal" way) but looking at all the possibilities. If a person is too "focused" on what they learned in school by rote, they will have a difficult time seeing other disciplines as a way to the result. A lateral thinker is in the lateral thinking mode normally, and isn't limited to one line of thought.

Larger Box
Mario de Obaldia, Other, United States
... Where we can feel that we have shaken the shakles of the oppressive - brave new world.

We Cannot Escape the Box
Tom Wilson, HR Consultant, United States
@Edmond Pietila: It seems to me the object of lateral thinking is to understand the box we occupy in order to optimize its utility for us. The example of using a syringe to accomplish novel tasks is an example of bringing foreign elements back into the box. This is a good thing, but the box remains the same. An example du Bono uses is upstream sewerage, where waste water is dumped upstream from the water intake of the enterprise. The box has remained the same, operationally, but the impacts of the box have been substantially modified by enlarging the underlying concept of the box.
Another example is the snow making equipment at ski resorts, which was originally intended to protect crops like oranges during freezing conditions. It failed in its original function, but was shifted, laterally, from one box to another and has been a huge success in its new box.
Understanding the box is of the essence. Lateral thinking is for finding a newer, better model.

Lateral Thinking and New Boxes
Andrew Blaine, Business Consultant, South Africa
It is my opinion that lateral thinking creates new boxes out of which we can then think. Without these new boxes there is no advancement.
Consider Facebook - some would say an extension of an existing box, but that box - The Internet - is outside the original box completely.
Another example is the cellphone - evolving from a need for commanders to communicate with very small, independently operating, military groups, operating in difficult situations.
Thank all that is Holy that we can think out of, and create, new boxes?


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