A major force in British creative thinking is Edward de Bono. Although Maltese in origin, de Bono has doctorates from both Oxford and Cambridge and is most famous for his addition of the term ‘lateral thinking’ to the English language in his 1967 book, ‘The Use of Lateral Thinking’. Since then, he has written around 40 books on creativity and thinking. This article is a whistle-stop tour of some of his more notable methods.
A way of understanding lateral thinking is through its opposite, vertical thinking. A vertical thinker is analytical, careful and precise, taking the data around a problem and analysing it with defined methodologies to find logical solutions. A lateral thinker understands vertical thinking, but chooses to deliberately outside of this bounded thought process. One reason that you have to dig in many other places is that creativity is like a joke: you do not get it until the punch-line at the end…