Lateral Thinking : Theory & Practices - XLS Download - CiteHR
Cite.Co is a repository of information created by your industry peers and experienced seniors sharing their experience and insights.
Join Us and help by adding your inputs. Contributions From Other Members Follow Below...
Hai Rajat, You are right. All the thoughts and bright ideas that come during early morning shower etc get dissolved in the daily rut once you reach office. Bala
HI HR profession
The Baloon Seller and the Curious Boy
There was a man who made a living selling balloons at a fair. He had
all colors of balloons, including red, yellow, blue, and green.
Whenever business was slow, he would release a helium-filled balloon
into the air and when the children saw it go up, they all wanted to
buy one. They would come up to him, buy a balloon, and his sales
would go up again. He continued this process all day. One day, he
felt someone tugging at his jacket. He turned around and saw a little
boy who asked, "If you release a black balloon, would that also fly?"
Moved by the boy's concern, the man replied with empathy, "Son, it is
not the color of the balloon, it is what is inside that makes it go
The same thing applies to our lives. It is what is inside that
counts. The thing inside of us that makes us go up is our attitude.

Hi all,

Would like to share the example of Lateral thinking & creativity in of the best examples and recent one is Greg Chappel & Cricket Team...

Inside Greg’s mind...

Greg Chappell’s concept of cricket coaching is scientific and clashes directly with the Indian culture of stardom, says Vaibhav Purandare


Structured learning environment is a term Greg Chappell, still the Indian team’s coach, uses. It is best explained through Chappell's cricket coaching methods.

Chappell says that if a batsman plays a particular shot 10,000 times, his hand-eye co-ordination, backward/forward movement, footwork and timing are so refined and fine-tuned that the shot becomes almost a natural reflex.

( Shouldn't HR focus on the same on ensuring that the best employees keeping the best and not become complacent...)

The same is true of catches and fielding practice. Take a chest-high catch in the awkward fingers-skyward position 5,000 times, and the ball will likely come and stick the 5001st time.

Then, assume you’ve scored a hundred in a day’s play. If you’ve been batting in the nets for an hour every evening, you have to continue with the regimented practice this evening too. If not for an hour, at least for half-an-hour. Taken five wickets in an innings? Good, now bowl some more in the nets. There is room for flexibility, but no compromise on discipline.

( It's time to relook at our current practices as well..)

Put a system of training in place, and follow it strictly. That’s structured learning, according to Chappell, and it works best when it is supported by a milieu where learning is also done in an unstructured form — that is, through casual meetings and interactions, lobby talks and written communication.

While you’re at all this, look into the game’s complexities.

Biomechanics will tell you how elements of the body work, how the structure and rhythm of movement and the coiling and unweighting of the body will make a certain stroke effortless and another a pain, why a front-on or side-on action for a bowler will bring less/more injuries, and why batting, bowling, fielding and catching will be poor if the body moves out of sequence or balance.

Examine the mental processes. Chappell believes in a ‘mental system of success’ which a player has to internalise to be ‘in the zone’ all the time, or most of the time.

( How true...internalise the success in our mindset..a good can be still done in a better way..)

Maintain a workbook to note how all processes are working (Chappell is happy at least one person, Sachin Tendulkar, does this).

Above all, keep the training rigorous, at times even punishing, for yourself.

This is the scientific method of coaching.

This is also the reason Chappell has been driven to such exasperation over the ways of Indian cricket.


The Indian approach to cricket training is largely unscientific and star-oriented. The clash between Ganguly and Chappell is thus the clash between the culture of science and that of stardom.

While Chappell asks how many catches a player will take, an Indian player is likely to argue why he should take so many.

While Chappell will think of how many runs a player could score in the next game, a “star” who’s just got a hundred will want to relax in the belief that his place in the side is secure for another three games. While Chappell will want to help a player clear his mindspace for cricket, so that other subjects fighting for space in his head are defeated, many of our players would prefer diversions. While Chappell may want to examine body structure and movement, the players might wonder what the fuss is all about.

Most Indian cricketers — let’s face it — are not mentally programmed to think in terms of the team, while the Australian cricket ethic has zero tolerance for egos. For instance, if a player gets all puffed up with pride over individual success or a swift increase in accomplishment and popularity, Chappell has a reason not to appreciate what’s going on.

His entire family is a line-up of accomplished cricketers — starting from grandfather Victor Richardson, Australia’s wicket-keeper in the 1930s — and has gone about its cricket in a no-nonsense fashion for nine decades. He himself was one of top three batsmen of his era; he naturally can’t take Princely self-indulgence even after repeated failures.

The excuse many Indian cricketers, and the not-so-different media and followers (who helped them develop big egos) offer for not following Chappell’s way is that an Indian cricketer can’t be as fit as an Australian. That’s a cover to hide the truth. A coach coming in from abroad is aware of the Indian mental and physical constitution and would make room for it.

The fact is that the average Indian cricketer is loath to adopt the scientific method and go a step further than what he’s been doing for years. The resistance is because an assertive coach would necessarily put an end to player Dadagiri and the sheer ad hocism that allows mediocrity, patchiness and incompetence to thrive in Indian cricket.

This is the reason, when India played Australia in the World Cup final of 2003, the difference between winner and loser was that between the world’s number one and the world’s number seven team.


Chappell was brought in with the specific purpose of inculcating the Australian work ethic into the Indian players. Now that he’s doing that, we protest that our sensibilities are being hurt, our national character is being trampled upon, our physical limitations are being ignored, and our basic cricketing character is taking a beating.

Countries that don’t learn from their history repeat it. Our feudal character and unscientific outlook made us a subject nation; today, the feudal nature of Indian cric0ket (we truly have a Prince and a war-mongering finance machine at the helm) has made us a weak and defeated cricketing nation.

We have a clear choice ahead: science or star culture. For the survival and growth of Indian cricket on the world stage, science must win; and for that to happen, Chappell Guruji must stay.

(Vaibhav Purandare is the author of Sachin Tendulkar: A Definitive Biography, published by Roli Books, 2005)

* The resistance to his scientific method is because an assertive coach would necessarily put an end to player Dadagiri and the sheer ad hocism that allows mediocrity, patchiness and incompetence to thrive in Indian cricket

* We HR Professionals have to learn a lesson from Greg Chappell on his methods..don't you think so?..



dear rajat
i happen to be a soft skills trainer as well and my pet topic is lateral thinking . nice to know that u have a separate forum for this topic. will share my knowledge as often as i can .

Hi Shaista,

A grand welcome to you...great to know that you too share my passion on this subject!!...and of course look forward to your valuable comments & views on the same...

Bala & Ricky ..thanks for your participation..

Why do we forget these IDEAS..which seems to be the paneacea to our problems at work?..Just like Eureka of Archimedes..who jumped out of the tub and ran on the streets..of course we can't even step out of the bathroom like that...

The fact of matter is when we are having a bath..or shaving or riding in bus/train/or driving the car...the ideas pop in your mind like a flash for a few seconds..go away..

The ideas come as the right brain dominates your mind which is associated with the Lateral Thinking...

The right brain looks at the whole picture and quickly seeks to determine the spatial relationships of all the parts as they relate to the whole. This component of the brain is not concerned with things falling into patterns because of prescribed rules.

Its time to get on with the theory....

What is Creativity?

An Ability. A simple definition is that creativity is the ability to imagine or invent something new. As we will see below, creativity is not the ability to create out of nothing (only God can do that), but the ability to generate new ideas by combining, changing, or reapplying existing ideas. Some creative ideas are astonishing and brilliant, while others are just simple, good, practical ideas that no one seems to have thought of yet.

Believe it or not, everyone has substantial creative ability. Just look at how creative children are. In adults, creativity has too often been suppressed through education, but it is still there and can be reawakened. Often all that's needed to be creative is to make a commitment to creativity and to take the time for it.

An Attitude. Creativity is also an attitude: the ability to accept change and newness, a willingness to play with ideas and possibilities, a flexibility of outlook, the habit of enjoying the good, while looking for ways to improve it. We are socialized into accepting only a small number of permitted or normal things, like chocolate-covered strawberries, for example. The creative person realizes that there are other possibilities, like peanut butter and banana sandwiches, or chocolate-covered prunes.

A Process. Creative people work hard and continually to improve ideas and solutions, by making gradual alterations and refinements to their works. Contrary to the mythology surrounding creativity, very, very few works of creative excellence are produced with a single stroke of brilliance or in a frenzy of rapid activity. Much closer to the real truth are the stories of companies who had to take the invention away from the inventor in order to market it because the inventor would have kept on tweaking it and fiddling with it, always trying to make it a little better.

The creative person knows that there is always room for improvement.

Cheers & have a nice day!!...


Hello Saista, Good to see your experience taking wings. Nice to have you on this platform. It generates new ideas and thoughts on every day on new thread.
Dream Big Dreams

By Andrew Wood

When Walt Disney sought financial backing to open a theme park in Orange County, California, no one was interested in lending him money. They thought he was crazy. "Mickey Mouse!" Are you kidding?

You can bet that IBM didn?t feel threatened when Stephen Jobs, of Apple Computer, began to compete with them, working in his garage.

Ross Perot started a billion dollar company with $1,000.

Richard Branson developed Virgin Airways and a global media empire in just ten years, starting with under $10,000.

Ray Kroc was a paper cup salesman when he decided, aged 54, to buy a hamburger stand owned by the MacDonald brothers.

Everybody laughed at Fred Smith when he founded a company called Federal Express that would deliver letters and packages overnight.

The moral for any leader, salesman, manager, executive, or entrepreneur is clear. It's not the money, it's not the age, and it's certainly not what others think can happen. The foundation for leadership success, be it in sports, business, or life in general is dreaming big dreams and turning those dreams into a vision.

As Walt Disney said, "If you can dream it you can do it."

When a business starts without big dreams and a vision to go with them, it has no direction, no vitality, and none of the driving force needed to achieve success in the marketplace. Just as when a business achieves success and then fails to dream bigger dreams, it soon becomes bogged down in mediocrity. Legendary Leaders are by nature big dreamers, goals setters, planners and action-oriented.

They take their dream, find their message and boil it down to its essence so it?s easy to repeat, comprehend and get others to buy into. Because of this, they act with a sense of destiny that helps build some of the other factors necessary for Legendary, including confidence and decisiveness. This in turn contributes to their communication skills, charisma and trust.



Hi Folks,

The next issue is ...

How do I know if I am, or could be, creative?

Every living, breathing human being has the potential to be creative. Each of us is a unique individual capable of comes with the human territory. We are, simply, quite a creative species.

All people can be creative but those who are recognized as being creative have an awareness that others don't. Creative people seem to be able to tune in more to their thought patterns and glean great ideas. People who do not use their creative potential don't know how to do this or aren't even aware it is possible. Creative people can start thinking about something, then forget it.

Meanwhile, their brains are still thinking about it. Later on, the person will start thinking about whatever it was again and their brain will say, "Excuse me, I've been thinking about this while you were off doing other things and I have a few ideas. Care to hear them?" Non- creative people don't know that their brains are working for them off- shift -- they don't know what they don't know!

There are many components that influence the creativity of individuals. This is not to say that people tremendously fluctuate in their creativity day to day and hour to hour; the opposite is often believed - that some individuals are generally more creative most of the time than others. The reasons why some people are more creative, however, are many.

a) Without the abilities needed to do the creative act, it is highly unlikely the individual will do the act. Just because a person has the ability to do something, however, does not necessarily mean that the person will do it. This is why researchers examine people's motives.

b) Without the motivation to do so, it is unlikely that a person would complete an act, regardless of the person's abilities.

c) Lastly, opportunities in the environment can affect the creativeness of individuals and groups of individuals.

d) If you've ever generated a novel response to a problem or challenge then congratulate yourself as being creative. If you do this on a regular basis, say every day, then put the "creative person" badge on yourself. With, practice, your ability to generate novel and useful responses to problems and challenges will greatly improve.

One aspect of a creative personality is the fluency with which he/she generates a number of new ideas. Not only does the creative person think of good ideas, but he/she can think of many ideas, explore them, and record them. If you feel a need to quantify your creative ability, go to a local psychologist and ask about taking a test to measure your creative ability. If you live near a college or university approach their psychology department with this request. But recognize that creative ability can be learned, improved upon, and increased over time.



Hi Ricky,

How are you?..infact am starting the series now on creative methods..hope you find it useful...

Have a great day..



Who Are You?

This method explores problems at a ‘deeper’ almost subconscious level. Problems that frequently give a vague sense of disquiet, a sense of things not going in quite the direction you had planned however, you have no clear thoughts of what the ‘right’ direction might be.

The techniques below help to explore these deeper levels angled more towards the personal perspective (‘what do you or your team want to do or be?’) rather than the external perspective (‘what business area might offer the most prospects for success?’)

Exploring the question directly

Working Solo, Write ‘who am I?’ (or ‘who are we?’ if it is for a team) at the top of a sheet of paper, followed by as many answers as you can generate. After the first few quick, straightforward answers, stay with it and try to pursue more deeply thought out answers. Continue making notes on your thought and try to push the boundaries of your normal thinking.

Working with a Partner, the above method actually works better with a partner. Sitting opposite each other for an agreed amount of time (say 5 – 10 minutes), several rounds of question and answers sessions take place. In the first round person A asks the question while person B comes up with the answers. In round 2 the roles are reversed, you can continue for as many rounds as you feel beneficial.

The questioner asks the set question (‘Who are you?’, ‘What is the team?’), if necessary it may be repeated, if prompting is required. The questioner should not comment, nod, smile, frown etc.; but just listen attentively, not evaluating.

Life Review

This exercise follows an idea suggested by St Ignatius Loyola (some 500 years ago). He suggests using your imagination to look back at decisions from your deathbed as a basis for trying to make a current decision.

Begin by relaxing in a calm, quiet environment then:

Imagine your infancy, in your imagination think back to when you were a small, helpless, dependant, infant born into a particular environment

Imagine being 5, imagine you are now 5, how did it feel to be 5? Can you picture images and memories from that time

Imagine being 12, 25, 40, 65, after a few minutes, project your imagination to what you were like when you were 12, did you worry?

What was important to you? What was your world like? Using the same method of thinking ask yourself the same questions for age 25 and 40 and 65.

Imagine being very, very old; imagine looking in the mirror when you are very old. What do you see? How you feel about yourself? Who are you?

Take a retrospective look over your whole life – what really mattered?

What would you have like to have done differently? Are you ready to die?

Imagine your death, what are your thoughts as you imagine yourself dying? Imagine your closest friends and relatives, what would they be thinking about you?

Imagine being reborn, after a few, or when you feel ready, imagine you are going to be reborn. You can be reborn, anywhere at anytime as anything you desire. What would your choices be?

Return, When you feel ready to open your eyes, gradually look around you as if seeing everything for the first time.

Have a great day!!



Organizations large and small, in their quest for productivity, effectiveness and bottom-line results, are killing innovation, and in so doing, killing their chance for effectiveness and success in the long-term.

Larger bureaucracies, both public and private sector, are crying out in pain at the lack of budgets, and pleading for more money to deliver basic services. Yet, whatever they receive is never enough. These organizations have become risk-averse, and have built bureaucracies and death by policy manuals. There is no tolerance for risk, no tolerance for failure, and thus no tolerance for true innovation.

Ironically, many smaller organizations, while free of bureaucracies, enforce similar restrictions. One of the common characteristics of an entrepreneur is that (s)he likes to keep his/her hands in every part of the business – it’s their passion for the business that establishes their initial success. However, as they grow, they need to learn to let go and allow members of their team to own pieces of their ‘baby’. That means that some solutions and innovations may not be what the entrepreneur would have done, and that can be too much for him/her. The restrictions they lock down can be as stifling as any bureaucracy or policy manual.

At its core, the common thread for both types of organizations is holding on to what’s familiar. Many people call this the ‘comfort zone’, but it’s not always comfortable, so we call it the ‘familiar zone’. It’s what we know, and one of the greatest barriers to innovation is the need to hold on to what’s familiar – we want to keep doing things the way they’ve always been done.

We hear of all the difficulties health care institutions and schools are having delivering their services. Generally, these bureaucratic monoliths seek money to continue working the way they have always delivered them. The problem is, most of the processes that they are trying to perpetuate are riddled with inefficiencies and outdated policies trying to deal with concerns that no longer exist. Nobody has the courage to wipe the slate clean, throw out the way it’s ‘always been done’ in order to create a way that truly works today.

Army budget being slashed by 40-60% in people and budgets, the support side of many military bases had to start bidding for their jobs against private sector firms in order to keep their jobs (with half the resources they had before). In base after base, they went back to ground zero and reinvented the way they did business to actually deliver better services than before the cuts and be cost-competitive with private-sector firms. What they had to do was let go of all of the old ways of thinking and doing business. The cuts and the threat of no jobs if they weren’t competitive provided all the motivation they needed.

Unfortunately, it can take extreme measure such as that to move these types of bureaucracies to change. Today’s way of business drives short-term, immediate results in the familiar zone. It doesn’t allow for failures or experimentation or new vistas, and so kills innovation.

This is nothing new. As I understand it, the computer mouse and today’s all-too-familiar windows-type computer interface were developed by Xerox’s R&D teams. However, the organization didn’t see or support their potential, so they were cast out and adopted by Apple, and organization that lived and breathed innovation.

Outside of challenging the familiar zone, there are three huge barriers to innovation created by traditional organizations: no tolerance for failure; no tolerance for dreaming; and no tolerance for incubating ideas.

fail and succeed

The only thing that you are guaranteed if you innovate more is more failures. If you’re not failing, then you’re simply not trying anything new – you’re living solidly in the familiar zone. Not every innovation succeeds. In fact, it is only through the preceding failures that the ultimate innovation is born.

Edison failed 10,000 times before he invented the first incandescent light bulb, but to him, those weren’t failures. Each one taught him something new that led him to the next experiment, and the next and the next, until he succeeded. It’s not failure – it’s feedback. Those who don’t have the courage to fail never succeed.

be silly

Modern society seems to have no patience for impracticality, silliness, or flights of fancy. Everything has to be practical and workable and able to deliver results – now. Unfortunately, if you use ideas that make sense and that are practical right away, all you’re doing is more and more of the same old, same old familiar zone. Nothing will produce significantly greater results.

To truly innovate, you need to step away from the practical and get into the impractical and impossible and even the silly. I’ve never been a part of any real innovation that was born out of practicality. And the fact is, if you don’t somebody else will. Change isn’t a choice any more – your only choice is whether you create the changes that wreak havoc with your competitors, or they will do it to you. That’s your only choice.

Look at all of the latest breakthroughs in technology and service. Not long ago, most of those would have seemed impossible or ridiculous, and now they’re everyday (remember Bill Gates infamous comment that nobody would need more than 64k?).

Simply put, we get practical too fast. In my experience, investing a short amount of time (and it never takes long) to get totally impractical and silly always generates returns far beyond what you would have gained by staying practical. The second article in this series will present some tools for this type of divergent thinking.

to innovate – take a break

One of the keys to effective innovation is incubation – leaving an idea or problem be for a short time and focusing on something else – either some other work or relaxation. Yet what happens when we see someone just sitting back daydreaming? They’re goofing off and inefficient.

Our unconscious minds need time on their own to work through problems and find solutions we wouldn’t have discovered logically or linearly. A simple example of this is when we can’t think of someone’s name. We can drive ourselves silly with no results, and then we get on with our lives. Then we wake up at 3 in the morning with that person’s name. That’s our unconscious working for us – it just needs to be left alone while it does so! The Stress Buster! in this issue deals with a similar approach for beating stress – one used by Winston Churchill himself.

Bottom line: To succeed and move forward in life today, we need to innovate. If we hadn’t as a species, we’d still be running around with stone knives and bearskins. It’s part of our nature. It’s who we are. We’re seeing the results of not innovating all around us – organizations, large and small, that have been around for years and years are disappearing off the map. The asteroid has landed, and the dinosaurs are passing on.

The good news? We can all learn to innovate. First step: Invest the time to get impractical and try out new things that may seem silly. Then get practical and make it workable.



This discussion thread is closed. If you want to continue this discussion or have a follow up question, please post it on the network.
Add the url of this thread if you want to cite this discussion.

About Us Advertise Contact Us
Privacy Policy Disclaimer Terms Of Service

All rights reserved @ 2020 Cite.Co™