Lateral Thinking versus Logical Thinking

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Lateral Thinking versus Logical Thinking
Carlos Pelaez, Member
Lateral Thinking is a method that stimulates creativity in solving problems. This method is an aid for looking new perspectives or points of views of an specific situation. In opposition to logical (lineair) thinking which is affected by paradigms.

Lateral versus Logical Thinking
col n bhatnagar, Member
In my opinion Lateral Thinking is: without changing the objective you look for new approaches, ideas and courses to achieve the same objective.
Whereas logical thinking is working out a solution on cause and effect basis.
Pl correct if I am wrong.

Logical Thinking is not Cause and Effect
Hassaan Khalid
There are two types of reasoning: inductive and deductive. Inductive uses heuristics. Deductive uses algorithms. What we call logic is usually algorithm. For example we say maths needs logic. But math is simply algorithms (at least while solving).
Lateral Thinking is inductive reasoning which involves looking at possible solutions and choosing the best alternative.
Logical thinking is not cause and effect. Because causality is established mostly by our own reading or views of a matter.

Lateral versus Normal Thinking
Dhanushkodi, Member
Lateral Thinking is different from normal or logical thinking as it warrants one to think in directions which are not logically the next step. The direction of thinking in Lateral Thinking could initially appear to un-connected, but would later prove to be a winning direction.
The end result of normal / logical thinking could be limited options as end result but Lateral Thinking could have much more options. Thus, what initially appeared to have limited options, as a result of Lateral Thinking, could have many more possible / additional options.
Lateral Thinking is more rounded / wider in vision as compared to normal / logical thinking.

Lateral Thinking Viewed as High Risk
Hal Weintrub, Member
I believe LINEAIR thinking is a "learned" response that becomes more prevalent with age, experience, etc.
I think that LATERAL thinking is more common among youngsters (new to this earth) or people new to an effort, job, etc. Who have not yet learned the common, high-probability bounds of the situation that they are reviewing.
Thinking "out of the box" is our conscious way of reviewing alternatives to a situation outside of the more narrow confines that our experience would lead us to intuitively choose. I believe our thought processes view thinking out of the box as a higher risk activity. However, I believe that is what brings "fresh ideas" to a possible "stale" situation.

Lateral Thinking can be Unreasonable
Ali Sumner, Member
Hi Hassan - you maybe interested in what Edward De Bono has to say about inductive and deductive thinking and lateral thinking. This is a quote from his first book on lateral thinking published in 1970 (p. 46):
"Inductive logic is essentially reasonable: one tries hard to be right as in deductive logic. Lateral thinking however can be deliberately and self-consciously unreasonable in order to provoke a new pattern. Both deductive and inductive thinking are concerned with concept forming. Lateral thinking is more concerned with concept breaking, provocation and disruption in order to allow the mind to restructure patterns".

Lateral Thinking and Logical Thinking
Andrew Blaine, Member
Unless lateral thinking is logical it cannot be relevant and is nothing more than day dreaming. For lateral thinking to have effect and show the way forward to innovation, it must be both logical and relevant. It can be unreasonable as reason is based on experience, but it must be logical and address an issue that is current and related to the present situation, or the near future.

Lateral Thinking and Logical Thinking
Ali Sumner, Member
Lateral Thinking has several 'stages':
1. Firstly our normal thinking about the issue/ task/problem for which we want to deliberately create new ideas, has to be perturbated (shocked) out of its normal patterns of thinking about the issue/task/problem. This is done by using a Lateral Thinking tool specifically designed for this purpose (e.g. Random Word, PO, Concept Triangle). Using one of these tools takes us to a totally illogical starting point for our thinking (some of these starting points - depending on the tool used are more illogical than others).
2. The second stage is 'movement' during this stage new ideas emerge. Lateral Thinking only aims for useful and valuable ideas - this means we use a FOCUS tool as part of the Lateral Thinking process, (Area FOCUS or Purpose FOCUS) so not just any ideas emerge, only ones that are appropriate to the issue/task/problem we are focusing on.
Staying on focus is a logical thinking process - deliberately shocking our minds so new ideas can self-organise and emerge is not.

The Lateral Thinking Process
Andrew Blaine, Member
@Ali Sumner: I wonder how closely the process you describe follows reality. I consider myself to be a lateral thinker, but the process my brain follows is not the same as that you describe. If I try and induce ideas, they do not come, the process is, often annoyingly, generally spontaneous.

Lateral Thinking V Logical Thinking
Ivan Kohlinsky, Member
To me, Lateral Thinking and logical thinking methods are somewhat 'at odds'. Once one starts to map process flows, draw flowcharts etc etc one's mind is put in a kind of rut that limits the ability to 'go large' by some lateral thinking leap.
On the comment 'anyone can be a lateral thinker', I believe that de Bono meant that anyone can throw out 'almost' outrageous meaningless contributions that are not lateral thinking. But in brainstorming, someone who is a lateral thinker can still feed off this 'nonsense' in a genuine lateral thinking way and generate genuine worthwhile mega-change.

Anyone Can Be a Lateral Thinker
Ali Sumner, Member
@Ivan Kohlinsky: Hmmm possibly. In regards to lateral thinking versus logical thinking, check out my recent @reply above with some thoughts on this in the lateral thinking versus logical thinking subject area listings.


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