Back in the early 2000s when I was teaching at the Design School at Fanshawe College, I co-taught a course on Creative Thinking to Graphic Design students. One of the topics covered in the course was Lateral Thinking. This is the opposite as Linear or Vertical thinking where you start at A and then go to B and on to C, etc.
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. The term was coined in 1967 by Edward de Bono who wrote many books on the subject. Examples of lateral thinking include brainstorming, random associations, mind maps, analogies and metaphors; ways to think broadly or sideways and eventually come back, fine tune and come up with some final options. There are other methods of Lateral Thinking to solve problems such as the Triz method. The TRIZ method depends on previous experience and logic/research rather than unpredictable thinking.
Lateral thinking is helpful in every type of creative endeavour, whether it is UX interface design, graphic, industrial, landscape and actually any type of design you can think of. It can also help with non design dilemmas such as what are you going to wear to a special function. If you are trying to figure out a solution to a problem. there can be many tools in your toolbox.
As a student of Industrial Design, during all three years, we took a course called Creative Problem Solving in which lateral thinking was but one of many tools taught to us. It has helped me to shape my thinking skills for every aspect of my life. Before I started Industrial Design, I could always do but did not have as much confidence in idea generation. After my graduation though, I was a fountain of ideas and it enriched all aspects of my life.
"Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things."
This blog is to showcase my ongoing work.