[Host's Note: Walter received a followup querry from Milton, replied to
it, and is forwarding a copy of his reply to the LO list. ...Rick]
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 11 Jul 1996 09:38:03 -0400
From: Walter Derzko <wd@ITRC.ON.CA>
To: Multiple recipients of list DEBONO <DEBONO@SJUVM.STJOHNS.EDU>
Subject: Re: Lateral Thinking - core competency in Strategic Planning-Reply
Milton Lopez asks:
From: MILTON LOPES <MLOPES@UGA.CC.UGA.EDU>
ML> Within this context how do you approach lateral thinking?
I described it in my original posting and gave an example of the process.
ML> Do you use a technology such as CyberQuest?
No....ideas were developed on custom worksheets and then collected in the
group of 8 on flipcharts..usually each group produced 10-15 pages of
ideas on standard sized flip charts. These were then hung on clothes
lines around the workshop table. This was a creative solution that we
came up with to address the shortage of wall space in most hotel rooms.
ML>Or do you use pen and paper projects such as the
ML>Chinese Puzzle where participants are asked to draw an animal that
ML>the organization as it is today; what it would be in ten years if the
ML>quo remained the same; and what it would be in the same period if one
ML>could wave a magic wand?
Those are all "secondary creativity techniques" that do in most cases
produce idea, but in an inconsistent manner.
But why go with secondary techniques if you can use primary thinking
skills. "What's the thinking skill that I need to address this issue or
If you ask most people what thinking skill they used after using the
"Chinese puzzle or any other thinking game or routine" most wouldn't be
able to tell you. Most people don't think at the "metalevel". What's the
thinking behind my thinking. So it becomes at hit and miss situation. Some
people are better at it then others. But lateral thinking improves the
"relative "performance of all..as we saw using our controls. Lateral
thinking turns it into a overt, deliberate process vs a random hit or miss
Using most other creativity techniques there is no notion of "how do I
optimize my thinking" or "Which sequence of thinking skills is most useful
and efficient at this point in time'? Most Creativity Facilitators just
randomly toss in techniques because they like to use them or are
comfortable with them and not because they fit.
We in fact used "just plain brainstorming" as a control. In all cases, it
produced far fewer ideas (quality and quantity) in ten minutes, then
applying lateral thinking skills or operations in the same period of time.
It's interesting to note that at the end of each workshop, each group of 8
was asked to select the "top or hottest idea". Most selections came from
the lateral thinking process and not from the brainstorming process.
In part A we ask people to identify opportunities off the top of their
heads (promoted by the video and specific questions). That's like asking
"what it would be in ten years if the status quo remained the same; and
what it would be in the same period if one could wave a magic wand?" But
we phrased it in a different way...depending on the objective of each one
of the 4 workshops.
In lateral thinking, participants must be aware of and deliberately apply
a specific thinking operation. It's like saying: Which math operation do I
use now to do my taxes at this point ? Plus, subtract, multiply or divide?
See the example that I gave in my original posting, where we using a
customized list of "What do we take for granted about" for each workshop.
We then used "concept Challenge" and others as the specific thinking
MIlton, I hope this clarifies things
>Institute of Community and Area Development
>The University of Georgia
Prof. Walter Derzko Founder Creativity Consortium An international club/network for lateral thinkers firstname.lastname@example.org (until May) email@example.com (after) (416) 588-1122 http://itrc.on.ca/CreativityConsortium/
Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <firstname.lastname@example.org> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>