lateral thinking -1


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LATERAL THINKING AT WORK T.Sivasankaran Advesh Consultancy Services Chennai India

Slide 2: 

This presentation is designed for two days training Technique used is based on Edward de Bono’s Lateral Thinking – Creativity Step by step Puzzles,exercises and games are from various sources

Other Reference Books Used : 

Other Reference Books Used Fourth Eye by Pradip N.Khandwalla The Houdini Solution by Ernie Schenck Paradigms by Joel Arthur Barke by Ricar Maverick by Ricardo Semler

Few Puzzles : 

Few Puzzles

Slide 5: 


Slide 6: 

1000 40 1000 30 1000 20 1000 10

99+9=9 : 

99+9=9 Make this equation correct You can add a letter or word to this equation You have just 30 seconds for this

Slide 8: 

What can you dry your hair with , cut the grass with And lift a car with?


A F HIJKLMNOPQRS U WXY BCDE G T V Where will you fit in Z

Slide 11: 

A man is wearing black. Black shoes, socks trousers, coat, gloves and ski mask. He is walking down a back street with all the street lamps off. A black car is coming towards him with its light off but somehow manages to stop in time. How did the driver see the man?

Slide 13: 


Slide 14: 

The Paralyzing Power Of Previous Perceptions

Slide 16: 

The mind is a cliché making And cliché using system

Slide 17: 

What do you call a funny story? What are you when you have no money? What's another word for Coca Cola? What's the white of an egg?

Slide 18: 

What does this have to do with creativity and innovation? This simple example shows you how powerful your previous perceptions influence your thought process and how you arrive at “your right answer.”

What is Creativity? : 

What is Creativity? Creativity brings into being something that did not exist before, either as a product, a process or a thought

Slide 20: 

Creativity – coming up with ideas Innovation – bringing ideas to life

Slide 21: 

A child’s creativity decreases 90 percent from age five to seven. By the time they reach 40, their creativity is at rock bottom -- a mere two percent of what they once had. This probably happened to you too.

What is a Creativity Exercise? : 

What is a Creativity Exercise? For our purposes, anything that changes your way of thinking about a problem (or opportunity) Especially techniques to cultivate new ideas Applicable at any stage of the process.

“Problems cannot be solved by thinking within the framework within which the problems werecreated”Albert Einstein : 

“Problems cannot be solved by thinking within the framework within which the problems werecreated”Albert Einstein

Creativity Can Be Learned : 

Creativity Can Be Learned “Inventing is a skill that some people have and some don’t. But you can learn how to invent. You have to have the will not to jump at the first solution because the elegant solution might be around the corner. An inventor is someone who says, ‘Yes, that’s one way to do it but it doesn’t seem to be an optimum solution.’ Then he keeps on thinking”. Ray Dolby, inventor

What is That Good For? : 

What is That Good For? Analysis is not a very good means of generating ideas. Intuition is, by definition, not responsive to systemization. What cannot be commanded might still be coaxed.



Things You May Already Do : 

Things You May Already Do Many activities change what parts of your brain are working, and encourage other parts to relax. Identifying these triggers and exploiting them on purpose can be powerful. Not usually a great thing for groups, though.

Things You May Already Do : 

Things You May Already Do Examples: Exercise Change of scenery Driving Showering Toys Sleep Music

Exercise5 minutes : 

Exercise5 minutes Take four away from four and make it eight

Six Thinking Hats : 

Six Thinking Hats — Edward de Bono Knowledge possessed or needed Type of thinking being used Risks, drawbacks, criticism Opportunities, possibilities, alternatives Advantages, benefits Feelings, intuition


FIVE BIGGEST FEARS Fear of Failing Fear of Succeeding Fear of Change Fear of Going Broke Fear of Time

Slide 34: 

The only thing we had to fear was fear itselfF D Rooswelt

Slide 35: 

Creativity is a nuclear reactor. And like any nuclear reactor, it can’t generate electricity until something gets a chain reaction going

Exercise5 minutes : 

Exercise5 minutes You have a pile of 24 coins. 23 of them have the same weight. But one of them is heavier than the rest. You are given a scale but no weights. Your task is t identify the heavy coin in no more than three uses of the scale.

Exercise3 minutes : 

Exercise3 minutes A conference room contains three separate wall-mounted spotlights - right, left and front of stage. Each is controlled by its own on-off switch. These three switches are numbered 1, 2 and 3, but they are in a back-room which has no sight of the the spotlights or the conference room (and there are no reflections or shadows or mirrors, and you are alone). How do you identify each switch correctly - right, left, front - if you can only enter the back-room once

Exercise 5 minutes : 

Exercise 5 minutes Four men, one of whom was known to have committed murder, made the following statements to the police. Arun: Dave did itDave: Tony did itGeorge: I did not do itTony: Dave lied when he said I did itIf only one of these four statements is true, who was the guilty man?

Exercise5 minutes : 

Exercise5 minutes You are the treasurer in charge of the Royal mint, which produces a single type coin, the grote. There are ten machines producing grotes, one machine is producing grotes weighing one gram less than they should, each coin should weigh 10 grams. You have a set of broken scales which can be fixed to provide one single weigh of a single amount (no weight changes are allowed). Using the scales once you must identify the single faulty machine. How do you do it?



Slide 41: 

Action ItemWrite down what image comes to mind when you think of the word “Machine”. Ask a friend or colleague to do the same thing. Compare your lists. Chances are the image you came up with was very different from what they envisioned. Why is that?

Generation of alternatives : 

Generation of alternatives

Slide 43: 

Most basic principle of lateral thinking is that any particular way of looking things is only one from many other possible ways. Lateral thinking is concerned with exploring these other ways

How would you divide a square into four equal piecesGive atleast 6 alternatives : 

How would you divide a square into four equal piecesGive atleast 6 alternatives Time 15 minutes EXERCISE

Slide 47: 

Make a square out of this 10 minutes Exercise


EXERCISE How would you divide up a square of cardboard to give an L shape? Give at least three alternatives Time 10 minutes

Slide 52: 

Write a small paragraph what he is thinking about 10 minutes

Slide 53: 

Write a paragraph about this scene Time 5 minutes



Slide 55: 

A cliche is a stereotyped way of looking at something or describing something. It is usually assumed that the basic ideas are sound and then we start fitting them together to give different patterns.

Exercise : 


Slide 57: 

Arrange these shapes to give a single shape

Why Technique : 

Why Technique Why are black boards black? Why would it matter what they are called? Why can not we call it by different name?

Slide 59: 

The usual response to why is to explain something unfamiliar in terms that are familiar enough to be an acceptable explanation

Challenge: : 

Challenge: Simply challenge the way things have always been done or seen, or the way they are. This is done not to show there is anything wrong with the existing situation but simply to direct your perceptions to exploring outside the current area.


PROVOCATION Declare the usual perception out of bounds, or provide some provocative alternative to the usual situation under consideration. DeBono suggests using Prefix the provocation with the term 'Po" to signal that the provocation is not a valid idea put up for judgement but a stimulus for new perception.

Provocation : 

Provocation To challenge established patterns To question the validity of established patterns To disrupt established patterns and lioberate information that can come together to give new patterns To recue information trapped by the pigeonholes of labels and classifications


PROVOCATION EXAMPLE The mountain must come to Tom (the classic answer). Use a video conference (an IT idea). Use pigeon post (an ornithology idea). Use an intermediary. Ask him what he wants in exchange for coming to the mountain (a deal). See if he'll accept a free slot in a holiday home (that just happens to be on the mountain). Wait until he changes his mind (a taoist idea). Cut your losses and tackle a different problem. Coerce him. Force him. (a military idea) Find out if reason of "Won't Come" is because of "Mountain" Ask Tom to go near the mountain if not to the mountain. Lure, deceive or blackmail him. "Make him an offer he can't refuse". Leave him no alternative. Then let him go to it. Tom is a planet and the mountain is a room outside.

Slide 64: 

Henry Ford took a candidate for lunch.Ordered Soup.The senior candidate picked up salt and added to soup? What was Mr Ford’s observation? Did he hire him?


EXERCISE 4 Teams of five eachTime 15 minutes Answer at least 5 times why Why are wheels round? Why does a chair has four legs?

Slide 66: 

The way the Mind works What is Lateral Thinking Generating alternatives Challenging Assumtions



Slide 68: 

Fluency or the ability to ideate copiously is very useful for responding to that class of problems where it is unlikely that a single best solution exists or can be deduced by strictly logical operations Flexibility is the ability to come out with variety of ideas Originality is unique ideas, novel and surprising

Exercise10 minutes : 

Exercise10 minutes Listed below are five objectsYour task is to write down as many uses as you can for each object. Chair Stick Thread File Toothbrush

Exercise5 minutes : 

Exercise5 minutes List objects that have a rectangle in it List five letter words ending in g( No continuous verb) List 5 distinctively different uses of a basket What different factors would you bear in mind while taking a new job?

Slide 71: 

List as many insects,fruits,vegetables,flowers and trees whose names begin with the letters a,e or o



Slide 73: 

Most important feature of the mind as an information processing system is its ability to choose This ability to choose arises directly from the mechanical behaviour of the mind as self maximising memory system

Exercise5 minutes : 

Exercise5 minutes Divide a triangle into three parts in such a way that the parts can be put together again to form a rectangle or a square

Exercise5 Minutes to 10 Minutes : 

Exercise5 Minutes to 10 Minutes Draw the outline of a piece of cardboard which is so shaped that with a single straight cut the piece can be divided into four smaller pieces which are exactly alike in size, shape and area.

Random Entry : 

Random Entry Choose an object at random, or a noun from a dictionary, and associate that with the area you are thinking about. For example imagine you are thinking about how to improve this Hall. Choosing an object at random from a dictionary office you might get a word “fuel” Fuel generates energy Energy drives vehicles Can we make this hall more energetic? Fuel is flexible Can we design flexibility in this room? Fuel …..Do we need to provide some energy giving drinks inside the Hall?

Exercise : 

Exercise Groups of four How to make Chennai a clean city? Pick up one object from this room Try to link this object with the problem “making Chennai cleaner”

Some real lateral thinking questions : 

Some real lateral thinking questions

No space in the car : 

No space in the car You are driving down the road in your car on a wild, stormy night, when you pass by a bus stop and you see three people waiting for the bus An old lady who looks as if she is about to die. An old friend who once saved your life. The perfect partner you have been dreaming about. Knowing that there can only be one passenger in your car, whom would you choose?

The Coin : 

The Coin John is on a raft, adrift in the ocean with several other survivors of a shipwreck. The others are too weak, so he or Mike will swim to a nearby island to look for help. It is almost certainly suicidal, due to the circling sharks, but they have little else to hope for. Mike takes the lose change from his pocket and puts two pennies in a hat. He tells John that one is a 2005 penny, and the other 1975. If John picks the newer penny he can stay on the rat, and Mike will risk his life. If John picks the older penny, he must go. John has seen that both pennies were actually dated 1975, but he doesn't want to say anything, because Mike is a big guy. How does he win, and get Mike to go, without exposing him as a fraud in front of the others?

Brainstorming : 

Brainstorming Brainstorming is a group creativity technique designed to generate a large number of ideas for the solution to a problem



Slide 83: 

The mind is pattern making system Mind creates patterns out of environment and then recognises and uses such patterns Because the sequence of arrival of information determines how it is to be arranged into a pattern such patterns are generally less than the best possible arrangement of information

Slide 84: 

Vertical Thinking is selective One may reach a conclusion by a valid series of steps Lateral Thinking is generative Vertical Thinking develops the ideas generated by Lateral Thinking

Slide 85: 

Logical thinking works to relate accepted concepts Lateral thinking is to bring about insight restructuring Lateral thinking is generative Vertical thinking is selective

Slide 86: 

Twin aspects of Lateral thinking are first the provocative use of information and second the challenge of accepted concepts This helps to restructure patterns

Slide 87: 

Vertical thinking and Lateral thinking are complementary

Techniques for Lateral Thinking : 

Techniques for Lateral Thinking Generate Ideas Challenge assumptions Provocation as a tool Look for entry points Develop fluency Use Brainstorming Analogy Suspended Judgment Random stimulation

The elevator delay : 

The elevator delay There was a hotel where the visitors complained about the slow moving elevator and how long they had to wait for it to come. It became so severe that the manager was asked to do something about it. If you were the manager what would you suggest ?(Picked up form the book Mediocre but Arrogant MBA)

Slide 90: 

If you really want to see something, look at something else. If you want to say what something is, inspect something that it isn’t. If you want to see the invisible worldlook at the visible one. If you want to know what East really is, look North. If you have a question concerning the sea, look at the mountains….

Slide 91: 

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