Chapter 7Lateral Thinking or Moving Sideways "You cannot dig a hole in a different place by digging the same hole deeper“- changing direction “Can’t see the forest for the trees” Alternative ways of viewing a problem - Provocative methods
How many faces? • Objective finding - define the problem area • Acceptance finding (divergent) • Fact finding - gather information • Solution finding - evaluate and choose between • Problem finding - define the problem correctly • Idea finding - generate solutions to the problem
Some problems seem to be very difficult to solve • Long brainstorming methods work on existing paradigm- paradigm produces a solution, and if only we could stretch it just a little bit more, then we might find a viable solution. • Shoe fasteners • buttoned , laced, slip-on • improvement on the previous one with own problems and limitations, too. • Velcro fastening method to shoes- paradigms • Stretch existing paradigms • challenging assumptions • looking for analogous situations • trying to apply ideas that seem to have worked in one situation or another. • Metaphors and similes
The coconut millionaire A man buys coconut at £5 a dozen and sells them a £3 a dozen. Because of this, he becomes a millionaire. How? The unusual What can you dry your hair with, cut the grass with and lift a car with? A businessman called the train station to find the time of his train. Later when he reached the station, he was surprised to learn that he was half an hour early. What time was his train? Some Problems …
How LT helps? • We are hardwired to be UN-creative. • We need formal tools for breaking out of patterned thinking. • Everyone can learn how to be more creative • Lateral Thinking gives you the power to create ideas on demand
Ideas on Lateral Thinking • "Lateral Thinking is for changing concepts and perceptions" • Assumption • Does not have to be correct at every point. A ridiculous concept is often necessary to give a new alignment • Not just relevant information -- uses a random approach to perturb the system and bring change • Judgment is not allowed!!!! • Is not sequential • jump from point to point • then stopping to “coalesce”
De Bono – 4 critical factors • 1 Recognizing The Dominant Ideas That Polarize Perception Of A Problem • 2 Searching For Different Ways Of Looking At Things • 3 Relaxation Of Rigid Control Of Thinking • 4 Use Of Chance To Encourage Other Ideas.(Low-probability Ideas) Perspective
Dominant idea – predispositions how is the problem being viewed? Know thyself Profitability & Cost- missing other factors Mindset, perceptual block Tethering factors - unjustified assumptions Workers will not strike if management is heavy handed Repeated false alarm – stereotyping Awareness Lichi-drink bottles
Polarising tendencies - TWO viewpoints can polarise the situation in to an EITHER / OR situation, reducing possible solutions. By providing compensation to customers when trains are late or cancelled the railway company creates good will. Boundaries - problem boundaries limit the amount of room available to solve a problem, They need to be ignored if solutions other than variations on old ideas are to be found. Science fiction Use intermediate impossible method Awareness ...
Assumptions - they should be recognised, even if their validity cannot be assessed. Through recognition of assumptions new insights may be obtained. Metal ships float good! Study: CHALLENGING ASSUMPTIONS: WHAT CAN WE TAKE FOR GRANTED? P 142 Awareness ... Consider assumption smashing, challenging assumptions and assumption reversal.
Example: Assumption smashing • When customers purchase software they are encouraged to purchase support agreements for a cost of 15 per cent of the software value. The revenue from this maintenance funds the support personnel who answer telephones.
Example: Assumption smashing • The assumptions of this situation are: • customers purchase maintenance agreements • customers pay 15 per cent of the software’s worth for support • support is a product and should therefore be sold • the software vendor provides helpful, timely support • Now drop these attributes • What happens if support is free? Maybe the software price should be increased and the support given away, creating the impression of free support. • Don’t offer support. The vendor doesn’t have to support it, so doesn’t have to employ support staff. • 3If anyone rings for help put the person off! This could lead to customers forming their own support groups (user groups) or turning to other areas such as the Internet, bulletin boards, • newsletters, independent support specialists and so on
Assumption reversal: Example • Suppose you are keeper of a museum containing a wide variety of everyday domestic and personal artifacts in use from the fifteenth century to the present day. One of the problems you encounter is having enough exhibits to show people and having enough variety to change the exhibits from time to time in order to get people to visit the museum more frequently. In addition, you have less money to spend on the acquisition of such artifacts than you had the previous year.
Assumption reversal: Example … • First you list all the major assumptions. One of these assumptions might be that museums buy artifacts for everyone to see. Reversing this assumption leads to the statement that museums don’t buy artifacts for everyone to see. This statement then might be used as a stimulus to suggest a museum is a place to which people bring their own artifacts to be displayed free of charge and for a limited period – i.e. they are loaned for a fixed period of time and then subsequently a new set of loaned objects are displayed.
Alternative (Ways Of Viewing A Problem) • Avoidance devices • Developing a frame of mind to embrace new ideas • Rotation of attention • Focus to the surrounding factors • Change of entry point • Changes the sequence altogether • Quota of alternatives • Appreciate ideas in finer details • Concept changing and challenging
Alternative (Ways Of Viewing A Problem) … • Key word omission • wages = payments to employees • salaries = work service payments • Fractionation and bridging devices • Separating into its parts (Maybe Illogical) • Bringing the parts of a problem together.
Provocative Techniques • Random stimulus – Sample any rich set of random stimuli to seek a relationship between the object and the problem under consideration. • Intermediate impossible – Use an ideal but impossible solution to a problem and adapt it into a viable option. Repeat if necessary. • Reversal - turn the direction of the problem around - instead of "how to make the factory safer for workers" it could be "how to make workers more safe for the factory". Example.
Random Word Example • The problem is how to reduce absenteeism. • The word ‘butterfly’ is randomly obtained. • The properties of a butterfly are listed e.g. • only lives for a short while • is very pretty to look at • Only lives for a short while: Can be compared to the staff interest level. How do we improve the interest levels of the staff so they do not get bored or lose interest? • Very pretty: We have to improve the working environment , people are more relaxed and comfortable in a pleasant working area. We need to make them feel that they are not actually going to work. • ... Continued on the textbook
Problem: How can we sell more televisions in slack periods of the year? Give them away. This may suggest a buy-now-pay-later offer whereby the customer effectively gets the television free for a period of time before a payment is made. Intermediate Impossible Example
Reversal • A popular approach to law enforcement is to reverse the problem of going out and getting the bad guys. Some police officers instead think of ways to get the bad guys to come to them. • Why would wanted criminals come to the police? • One result of reversing thinking on this problem is for police to send out invitations to a special “party.” The “guests” are arrested when they show up. • Another is to notify wanted people they have won a prize and must show up in person to claim it. Thus, a simple change in problem definition provides a hot idea.
In class activity Use Problem reversal Design a new lichi-drink bottle
Distortion & exaggeration Example: In quality control, where production rejects are high, view everything produced as a reject. Could lead to thinking of redesigning the production line. Exposure - consider things unrelated (force-fitting) Example: A plastic duck could be related to organisational problems - those above the surface and those below it. Cross fertilisation - ask experts in other areas how they might solve the problem using their own methods. Example: Joysticks to control robotic surgeons Expert gamers wanted Other Provocative Techniques ...
Other Provocative Techniques ... • Problem switching - move from one problem to another and then back again. • Example: A puzzle set by a friend stated that a 200 lb man had to get across a long rope bridge with three bags of gold, each weighing 1 lb. However, the bridge was beginning to collapse and would only hold a total of 202 lb. The man only just had time to cross the bridge once, so how did he manage to get across the bridge with all the gold? • Use of the term po!
To draw an analogy between a problem for which one does not have a solution and a comparable problem from a totally different sphere of activity for which an answer does exist. Metaphorical Analogies
How To Achieve A Successful Product Launch • Analogy – booking a holiday • 1 Stipulate criteria (e.g. hot weather, beach, water sports, scenic, quiet). • 2 Consult brochures and travel shops. • 3 Consider budget. • 4 Check availability. • 5 Book holiday. • Interpretations could include: • 1 Stipulate target market (e.g. geographic, demographic, psychographic, behavioral, etc.). • 2. Look at previous product launches or consult specialist agencies, etc. • 3 Consider the budget set aside for the product launch. • 4 Check availability of media (e.g. air-time, poster space, print runs, etc.). • 5 Commit to product launch, taking into account the above.
Sources Of Useful Analogies • Natural world • Animal kingdom • Other cultures and civilisations past and present • Other industries • Sciences - chemistry, physics, etc. • Sport • Arts and crafts • Leisure activities
Forced analogyForce fitting- LT style • The idea is to compare the problem with something else that has little or nothing in common and gain new insights as a result. • Forcing relationships is one of the most powerful ways to develop new insights and new solutions.
The Discontinuity Principle • The more you are used to something, the less stimulating it is for thinking. • So disrupt your thought patterns • Po- ‘Provocative Operation’.
Constructively challenge the status quo to enable new ideas to surface Find and build on the concept behind an idea to create more ideas Solve problems in ways that don’t initially come to mind Use alternatives to liberate and harness your creative energy Turn problems into opportunities Select the best alternate ideas and implement them Benefits of Lateral Thinking
Group Work C7- Due April 5Case: Business BooksVenue: 7th floor on the 2nd April3:00 PM
Application Areas of LT • Specific (Single) • A set of systematic techniques used for changing concepts and perceptions, and generating new ones • General • Exploring multiple possibilities and approaches instead of pursuing a single approach