Lateral thinking and problem solving

in Educationlast year

From a scientific theoretical construct, problem solving is the ability or capacity to identify a given problem, take logical steps to find a desired solution, and then supervise and evaluate the implementation of a solution.

Based on this theoretical logic, it is important to mention that, in certain areas of scientific knowledge, when unexpected situations arise, hypotheses are put forward with the aim of resolving these situations by means of expected behaviors; however, in some cases inconsistencies or deviations arise, therefore, errors are recognized as a premise in order to validate the answer to the problem initially considered.

Fig. 2 When unexpected situations arise, hypotheses are developed with the objective of resolving these situations. Public domain image, Author: Geralt, 2013

This is known as the scientific method, and is executed through procedures that demand cognitive, flexible, adaptive and divergent thinking skills, based on observation and accurate recognition of the environment, which, when applied, lead to the empowerment of responses aimed at solving a given problem.

Now, in addition to the scientific method as a means to solve problems, there is also something called lateral thinking, which is a procedure devised by the psychologist Edward de Bono, this type of thinking seeks solutions to problems that do not follow the logical patterns normally used, relying on ideas that are out of the ordinary, looking for alternative ways to solve them.

According to Edward de Bono, there are different ways of thinking about this if we consider that traditionally when we want to solve a problem we start at point A, go to B, then to C, and so on, as if following a recipe, a procedure that Bono described as linear or critical thinking.

Therefore, problem solving through lateral thinking, does not follow a linear, critical or methodical thinking, that this way of thinking is disconnected from the old and traditional ways of thinking, and the discarding of established patterns and preconceived notions.


[1] Huber J Lateral Thinking Techniques Used In The Problem Solving Process. Article: Online Access

[2] Abdulameer R Effects of the Lateral- and Double-Thinking Strategies on the Chess Positions Solving and Performance Time. Article: Online Access


The cover image was designed by the author: @lupafilotaxia, incorporating the public domain image background: Tjevans


Come to know about this scientific technique of going through the end of the problem. I think it's better to go to the end with some prediction fast and if the weather does not match then we can put some variables for error. well

Hello @engrsayful, excellent interpretation, is to put into practice the creative thinking before the logical. We are in communication, best regards.

Hello @lupafilotaxia,

I don't know if this qualifies as lateral thinking, but in the last few years I have been making collages in the LMAC community. What I notice since then is that when I think about an issue (or problem) I often start with an illustration. From the illustration, I find myself coming up with ideas and perspective. I do this now even when I write stories. The story is logical, and my essay is logical, but I get to it by a less logical path.

Does that sound like lateral thinking?

As always, your blog is interesting and had me reading further.

Greetings friend @agmoore

I congratulate you, not all of us have this ability, what you do in fact is lateral thinking, as they are creative ideas that give you a perspective that you capture in your illustration to start, in my case I find it difficult to develop ideas through lateral thinking, I tend to be more square and deductive. Creative people are in my opinion very intelligent because they have the possibility to establish creative ideas before reaching the hypothesis system, surely this way helps them to have more concrete perspectives when designing the variables they want to evaluate.

Best regards, be well.

Thank you my friend, for that most interesting answer.