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What is Lateral Thinking and why do we need it ??

The term ‘lateral thinking’ was actually first coined by Edward deBono, who is regarded as the leading international authority in creative thinking and in the teaching of thinking as a skill.

This came about during an interview in 1967, that de Bono was giving to a magazine called London Life. He was referring to “the other sort of thinking” meaning the thinking that was not linear, sequential, and logical. As he described how you needed to move ‘laterally’ to find other approaches and other alternatives, it occurred to him that this was the word that he needed to best describe the process. The term has now an official entry in the Oxford English Dictionary

The need for lateral thinking arises from the way the mind works. Though the information handling system called mind is highly effective it has certain characteristic limitations. These limitations are inseparable from the advantages of the system since both arise directly from the nature of the system. It would be impossible to have the advantages without the disadvantages. Lateral thinking is an attempt to compensate for these disadvantages while one still enjoys the advantages.

Edward deBono


This BLOG is not about the theory and tools needed to develop a lateral thinking mind, but rather a collection of stories, anecdotes and experiences that attempt to explain, with hindsight, the concept of lateral thinking, and how this has been applied and used successfully in all aspects of life since the beginning of time.

 Where possible I have tried to verify the veracity of the stories, and their source, however, what is more important is that the stories are viewed and read merely with the intention of understanding the underlying concepts of lateral thinking, even where the story seems unlikely to be true. It is the thinking behind the story, and the ‘lateral switch’ in each story that I have tried to capture in this collection.

Jesse James and the Widow

 I have to admit, that after having been personally involved in the running of a Lateral Thinking course in Malta’s Correctional Facility, for a period

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