Lateral Thinking vs.
Lateral thinking is not a substitute for
vertical thinking. Both are required – they are complementary: lateral
thinking is generative, vertical thinking is selective. For instance, during
meetings, you encourage lateral thinking during the first session to
generate as much creative solutions as possible, and vertical thinking
during the second session to select the feasible ideas.
In traditional vertical type of thinking (logic
or mathematic), you move forward by sequential steps each of which must be
justified. You select out only what is relevant. You must be right at each
stage in order to achieve a correct solution.
In lateral thinking, you may deliberately seek
out irrelevant information – you use information not for its own sake but
for its effect. You may have to be wrong
at some stage in order to achieve an innovative and correct solution.