What is lateral thinking?


When talking about lateral thinking, the first thing that is associated is laterality , which can refer very well to the different perspectives that one has of something, which is not far from the concept that distinguishes lateral thinking, however, this is considered to be certain way as a learning style or a skill that can be trained in the human being.


What is lateral thinking?

The lateral thinking derived from the English lateral thinking is a way of thinking that can be used as a method to train solving problems effectively, thereby achieving capture or create ideas that are outside what is commonly usual, therefore , this allows constant, creative and innovative solutions.



Lateral thinking is a specific way of organizing thought processes, which seeks a solution through unorthodox strategies or algorithms , which would normally be ignored by logical thinking.



The term was used for the first time in 1967 in the book by psychologist Edward de Bono which was entitled “New Think: The use of lateral thinking” which referred to solving problems in a more creative and indirect way, leaving as a product end a much faster solution. After this, the psychologist in question also coined the term vertical thinking.


  • Creativity .
  • Innovation.
  • Quick and easy troubleshooting.
  • Indirect solutions.
  • Out of the ordinary.
  • Different perspective .
  • Training.
  • Learning.


Checking assumptions

When you think simply, without making various assumptions about the question at hand it is possible that you can not find the right solution, so checking or comparison of assumptions is crucial for solving problems from this perspective, so is You need to have something roughly called an open mind.

Ask the right questions at the right time

This is a main element of lateral thinking , you must ask the questions that are believed appropriate and you must have the knowledge that the answers to these questions will help you to solve the problem that is presented to you at that moment, later the information that was obtained through the questions asked; This cycle of questions goes from the macro to the micro, generally beginning with open and general questions , ending with more specific and informative questions.


Creativity is the perfect complement to lateral thinking, let’s say it is the other half of it, the subject who manages to achieve creativity, observes and analyzes the problem from different perspectives and this allows him to find an answer more easily.

Logical thinking

All the elements of lateral thinking had to do with creativity, innovation and others until now, after going through all the previous phases, the subject to whom the problem is presented must locate among those many solutions that were revealed to him , To put it in some way, the most logical or the one that best suits the problem that is being experienced; this then would be the last filter of lateral thinking, logical analysis and reasoning that all circumstances require.


When we speak of methods we refer to techniques or tools that are carried out to develop or increase the practice of lateral thinking, these techniques are called provocations , of which only the most used will be mentioned below.

Words that link or resemble the problem to be solved are randomly incorporated in order to see it from another perspective.

  • Some characteristic of the problem is forgotten.
  • Something or other is mutated or exaggerated.
  • Analogies are established with other situations or problems.
  • The problem is reversed and evaluated and analyzed that way.
  • The problem is divided and evaluated from different areas in order to find the ideal answer.

What is it for

It is an innovative and flexible way of thinking , which not only helps the fluidity of ideas, but also trains the subject not to get stuck in a single probability , since there are infinite crossroads full of possibilities and solutions that we can easily pass. overlooked if we focus on just one thing.

How it differs from linear thinking

Linear thinking is rigid, totally inflexible and lateral thinking expands the imagination  and creativity of the individual, there is the difference, they are like two opposing poles that cannot meet, and that if at some point they did, they would collide hard.

How it differs from vertical thinking

The vertical thinking is everyday, this one is based on logic and basic understanding, which is what differentiates it from lateral thinking; One could say that one reflects monotony and the other innovation.

In addition to this, vertical thinking is clearly rigid, therefore, it limits the subject to be captive of a single type of response, contrary to lateral thinking, which with its flexibility not only makes the subject develop their creativity , but also opens the doors to various solutions.


  • Romeo and Juliet are dead on the floor, and around what is seen is spilled water and pieces of glass. How did they die?
  • A cat jumped from the edge of a ninth-story window, yet it didn’t get a single scratch. How is this possible?
  • How is water transferred in a strainer?
  • Some months have 31 days, others only 30. How many have 28 days?
  • Pablo dropped a ring in a cup full of coffee, but the ring didn’t get wet . How can that be?
  • What is the animal that has its feet on its head?
  • How much soil is in a hole that is one meter long by one meter wide and one meter deep?
  • I was going to Las Mercedes I met 7 women, each woman with 7 bags, each bag with 7 cats. Between cats, sacks and women. How many were going to Las Mercedes?
  • Five pieces of charcoal, a whole carrot and a fancy hat are lying in the garden. Nobody has lost them and they have the same time on the grass. How did they get there?
  • A dog is tied by the neck to a 2 meter long rope. How can he get to a bone that is 4 meters from him?


  • Romeo and Juliet were fish and a stone hit their fish tank.
  • He jumped inside the floor, he didn’t jump out the window.
  • Frozen water can be strained.
  • Every month has 28 days.
  • The cup was full of coffee beans.
  • The lice.
  • There is no land, it is a hole.
  • Only I went to Las Mercedes, since the women came back.
  • They are the remains of a snowman.
  • The dog reaches the bone running, since the rope that was tied around his neck was not tied anywhere.


Lateral thinking is of utmost importance not only for the training of thinking skills and mental processes, but it is also an interactive and entertaining way to solve problems effectively , its methodology facilitates the development of hypotheses that can be key material to solve a certain circumstance, and this is not only fulfilled in a written problem, it can be transferred to daily life, thus being a great support for those who implement it.

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