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Lateral Thinking - Journaling Tool

Imagine What You Can Do!

"Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way." - Edward De Bono

Edward de Bono popularised lateral thinking. Lateral thinking uses systematic techniques to seed and stimulate creativity.

The steps for lateral thinking are:

  1. Pose your question or define the situation you wish to address.
  2. Use a SEED or different perspective or what he calls a 'PO' for Provocative Operations. Examples are POssibilities, opPOsites or supPOsitions.
  3. Be willing to move, to explore new ways (without judging) of how the SEED triggers thoughts about the question or situation. Let the movement occur naturally and have fun with it.


Identify a problem you want to resolve. Now play with using the following lateral thinking techniques and approaches to seed your thoughts and stimulate new solutions to your problem:

Getting started:

  • Pick words at random out of a dictionary to trigger new ideas.
  • Set up new parameters. Enhance or restrict concepts, challenge assumptions, break rules, e.g., a railway company raising its vision from only railways to transportation.

Go deeper:

  • Reversals - Collect ideas and then reverse them, e.g., How could I really ruin a relationship?

Reach higher:

  • Future perfect - What would a perfect scenario relative to your question or situation look like? (eg. Immediate results, no pain, lots of fun, no effort)
  • If God were your personal advisor or on the Board of Directors for your company, what would God say?

"When patterns are broken, new worlds can emerge." - Tuli Kupferberg

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One tool alone will triple your creativity. Check out our other many Creative Thinking Exercises and Resources.