Lateral Thinking
Thinking that is Outside
the Box!
Can You Solve this Puzzle?
Can You Solve this Puzzle?
Can You Solve this Puzzle?
Can You Solve this Puzzle?
Lateral Thinking
Lateral thinking is a term coined by
Edward de Bono, a Maltese
psychologist, physician, and writer
de Bono defines Lateral Thinking as
methods of thinking concerned with
changing concepts and perception.
What is Lateral Thinking?
Lateral thinking is about reasoning that is
not immediately obvious
Ideas may not be obtainable by using only
traditional step-by-step logic.
Techniques that apply lateral thinking to
problems are characterized by the shifting
of thinking patterns away from entrenched
or predictable thinking to new or
unexpected ideas.
What is Lateral Thinking?
A new idea that is the result of lateral
thinking is not always a helpful one
When a good idea is discovered in
this way it is usually obvious in
Lateral Thinking Example
It took two hours for two men to
dig a hole five feet deep. How
deep would it have been if ten
men had dug the hole for two
The answer appears to be 25 feet deep
But did you consider…?
A hole may need to be of a certain size or
shape so digging might stop early at a
required depth.
The deeper a hole is, the more effort is
required to dig it, since waste soil needs to
be lifted higher to the ground level. There is
a limit to how deep a hole can be dug by
manpower without use of ladders or hoists
for soil removal, and 25 feet is beyond this
But did you consider…?
Deeper soil layers may be harder to dig out,
or we may hit bedrock or the water table.
Are we digging in soil? Clay? Sand? Each
presents its own special considerations.
Digging in a forest becomes much easier
once we have cut through the first several
feet of roots.
Each man digging needs space to use a
But did you consider…?
It is possible that with more people working
on a project, each person may become less
efficient due to increased opportunity for
distraction, the assumption he can slack
off, more people to talk to, etc.
More men could work in shifts to dig faster
for longer.
There are more men but are there more
But did you consider…?
The two hours dug by ten men may be
under different weather conditions than the
two hours dug by two men.
Rain could flood the hole to prevent
Temperature conditions may freeze the
men before they finish.
Would we rather have 5 holes each 5 feet
But did you consider…?
The two men may be an engineering crew
with digging machinery.
What if one man in each group is a
manager who will not actually dig?
The extra eight men might not be strong
enough to dig, or much stronger than the
first two.
Crime Scene Investigation
Crime Scene Investigators must use
lateral thinking techniques when trying
to determine what most likely happened
Theories as to what happened will be
developed based on evidence and
witness testimony
Theories and either proven or found to
be not probable
You Try!
At the Crime Scene:
A body is discovered in a park in
Toronto in the middle of a
sweltering hot summer. It has a
fractured skull and many other
broken bones, but the cause of
death was hypothermia.
You Try!
A Theory:
A poor peasant from somewhere in
Europe desperately wants to immigrant to
Canada. Lacking money for airfare, he
stows away in the landing gear
compartment of a jet. He dies of
hypothermia in mid-flight and falls out
when the compartment opens as the plane
makes its final approach.
You Try!
At the Crime Scene:
The body of a man, who dies as a result
of hanging, is discovered in an
otherwise completely empty locked
room with a puddle of water under his
feet. Yet the police determine that his
death was the result of a suicide.
You Try!
A Theory:
He stood on a block of ice to hang
You Try!
At the Crime Scene:
A man is lying dead, face down in the
middle of a field. He's wearing a
backpack. How did this man die?
You Try!
A Theory:
He jumped out of an airplane, but his
parachute failed to open.
You Try!
At the Crime Scene:
The body of a man, wearing swimming
trunks, a mask and snorkel, and
flippers is lying drowned in a dead
forest. There are no bodies of water
within a 100 kilometer radius. How
could the man have drowned to death?
You Try!
A Theory:
He was scuba diving when a firefighting
plane landed nearby and filled its tanks
with water, sucking him in. He ran out
of air while the plane was in flight; then
the water, with him in it, was dumped
onto a burning forest.
You Try!
At the Crime Scene:
Two people go to a New Year’s Eve
party. There, they immediately head to
the punch bowl and serve themselves
identical drinks. One lives; the other
dies. It is a case of murder in the first
You Try!
A Theory:
The drinks contain poisoned ice cubes;
one man drinks slowly, giving them
time to melt, while the other drinks
quickly and thus doesn't get much of
the poison.