lateral thinking

  

Definition

Idea generation and problem solving technique in which new concepts are created by looking at things in novel ways. Whereas the logical ('vertical') thinking carries a chosen idea forward, the sideways ('lateral') thinking provokes fresh ideas or changes the frame of reference. And, while vertical thinking tries to overcome problems by meeting them head-on, lateral thinking tries to bypass them through a radically different approach. The term was coined by the Maltese-born UK psychologist Dr. Edward de Bono in his 1970 book 'Lateral Thinking.' See also heuristics.

Use lateral thinking in a sentence

  • The lateral thinking exhibited by the new research team showed their creativity, originality, and innovation as they solved the problem.

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  • You need to have people on your team that can do quick lateral thinking if you want to be the first ones to a new product.

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  • I had to break this man of his lateral thinking and give him some new choices to work with because he really wanted to change.

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