Exactly what is lateral thinking?

And introducing . . .

 Lateral thinking FICTION

A strategy to turn back the groupthink tide and restore our rightful creative destiny


“The greater purpose of all life … is to evolve.

It is our capacity for creativity … that makes human evolution so exceptional”

Michael Muxworthy


Lateral thinking origin:

The phrase “lateral thinking” was first introduced by Edward de Bono way back in 1967. De Bono cites the “Judgement of Solomon” as the earliest known application of the lateral thinking principle. In that judgment, King Solomon resolved the parentage of a child by proposing to cut the child in half … but in fact, awarding the child to the mother that relinquished her claim in order to save the child’s life.

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Lateral thinking definition:

“Lateral thinking involves the solving of problems by an indirect or creative approach, typically by viewing the problem in a new and unusual light”

Dr. Edward de Bono

Lateral thinking is primarily concerned with the creation of new ideas. Yes, many of those ideas are for the purpose of solving problems. However, the understated significance of these simple, yet extremely powerful, disciplines is revealed when we consider their possibilities beyond the mere solving of problems and look at the potential creation of … opportunity.

“Lateral thinking involves the purposeful breaking of the restraints that inhibit creative and original thinking”

Michael Muxworthy

There are many definitions of lateral thinking out there; many opinions of what lateral thinking actually is. They typically seem to focus on only a small part of lateral thinking’s potential . . . problem-solving.

It is much more …

“Lateral thinking is the deliberate employment of disruptive strategies for the purpose of unleashing your creative thinking potential”

Michael Muxworthy

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When does “creative” thinking, become “lateral” thinking?

Where do you draw the line to say that something isn’t just creative thinking, it is also lateral thinking? This is where MY views/opinions possibly differ from those of “the master” LOL.


Take a step back for a moment to consider the question:

“What is creativity?”


Define creativity:


“Creativity is merely the combining of existing things in new ways”

Michael Muxworthy

The artist that paints a masterpiece is merely combining existing colors in a new way.

The author that writes a best seller is merely combining existing letters/themes/thinking in a new way.

The composer that writes the latest hit on the radio is merely combining existing notes in a new way.

The philosopher . . .

The architect . . .

The sculptor . . . you get the idea.

Okay, so the concept of creativity is actually quite simple. Now let’s consider lateral thinking creativity …


Lateral thinking meaning according to Dr. Edward de Bono:

“Lateral thinking is a way of solving problems by thinking about them in different and original ways without using traditional or anticipated methods”


A more “distinct” lateral thinking meaning:

“Lateral thinking is a process of deliberate DISRUPTION to our existing thinking for the purpose of generating original thinking”

Michael Muxworthy

Examples frequently used/quoted by Edward de Bono are brilliant, but they don’t always necessarily showcase any “deliberately planned” element of “disruption”.

“It is the element of DISRUPTION that so clearly differentiates lateral thinking from the broader category of creativity”

Michael Muxworthy

These are my “opinions”.

It is also my “opinion”, that lateral thinking has lost its way. So, how can we turn things around?

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An exciting new lateral thinking concept to turn back the groupthink tide.

“A new lateral thinking concept?”

I can just imagine the cringe from the die-hard lateral thinking purists out there that consider any messing with “the Master’s philosophy” to be blasphemy. LOL

But, hear me out before you write me off …


Lateral thinking “fiction”


What is it?

  1. A new way to engage;
  2. A strategy to achieve broader awareness of disruptive strategies; and
  3. An introduction to some fun and easy basics.

“An opportunity to whet some appetites”


Was that so bad … so threatening? LOL.

Let me elaborate a little …


Lateral thinking mass appeal fiction.

The thinking behind this is quite simple.

Each book/movie (or series of books/movies) has a leading protagonist highly skilled in the application of disruptive lateral thinking techniques. The character investigates, explores, and extrapolates WITH the reader/audience.

Simple, but specific lateral thinking tools are used to achieve breakthroughs in science, philosophy, crime … whatever.

The first lateral thinking novel of fiction (WIP title):

We should NEVER have trusted the aliens

Our lateral thinking protagonist and hero, Julius “Caesar” Romeo, has a secret passion … he loves to chase aliens.

Julius employs lateral thinking techniques to disrupt exiting views and resolve the alien question, build a bridge from science to religion, and solve the assassination of JFK.


The first series of books:

Lateral thinking investigations … of the third kind


Future series of books might be like …

Lateral thinking investigations … cold case

Lateral thinking investigations … haunted mysteries


Or for a younger audience …

Lateral thinking investigations … lost treasures



“Children are quick to pick up habits … let’s make them good ones”

Michael Muxworthy


The books will be informative, fun, teach, and most importantly … they will help to turn the tide against this “groupthink Armageddon” that threatens the very fabric of what it is to be distinctly human.


Having explored most of Edward de Bono’s offerings, I can only come to the conclusion that the man is a genius. Honestly, the depth of thinking and the resources he has created are astounding.

The problem is … not enough people are being engaged.


“My focus is to open the door … to offer that first enticing taste.

If people like what they experience, they’ll wade in a bit deeper”

Michael Muxworthy


Thanks for listening.

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. . . and stay in touch,

Michael Muxworthy

About Michael

See more about this first book project

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See how I personally put lateral thinking to use:

EXAMPLES of lateral thinking

Family life lateral thinking EXAMPLES

Lateral thinking applied in BUSINESS

Creative quotes that inspire