A “targeted” disruption technique


In lesson 2, I introduced you to your first tool of disruption … Random Starting Points.

Think of RSPs as being like a shotgun shooting wildly to see what it can knock down … very random. They’re useful, and they can be very effective, but sometimes a more “targeted” approach can lead to more acceptable/likely outcomes.


‘Lateral thinking is about generating original and creative thinking. It doesn’t guarantee the best possible solution … or even a correct outcome. It does help us to arrive at an original theories … to see turnoffs that we’ve previously missed.’

– Muxy


YOU … are a world-famous lateral-thinking detective. By chance, you come across a crime scene and you stop to offer your assistance to the local police.


Where there’s smoke…

A warehouse fire in an isolated area.

The rear door of the warehouse has had its lock forced. The distraught owner says there had been a lot of cash in the safe, and sifting through the burnt-out mess, he could see that the safe had been broken into.

The officer in charge concludes that a burglar forced his way into the warehouse, broke into the safe, and lit the fire to destroy any evidence.

Everything was totally destroyed in the fire. There are no witnesses. The enormous amount of activity putting out the fire has destroyed any remaining hope that a tire track or footprint might be found.

The police officer believes there is no way to know who burgled the warehouse.

We call this process vertical thinking.

There is a logical explanation well supported by solid evidence, but unfortunately, it leads to a dead end. Should the investigation stop there?


YOU decide that while the scenario given by the police officer is probable, there may still be alternatives worth investigating. YOU IMAGINE the possible perspectives of others.

The business owner’s perspective:

YOU imagine yourself trapped in a failing business you can’t sell. You might take out a large insurance policy in case of fire and/or theft. You could stage the break-in, claim to have lost the cash, and then reap the insurance while quietly pocketing the cash.

YOU suggest to the police officer that he check out the insurance situation, check the tax records, and talk to the accountant/bookkeeper.

The landlord/property owner’s perspective:

YOUR tenant’s business is failing and he is a long way behind in the rent. Knowing that it would be a costly exercise to get the tenant out, YOU decide to burn the place down for insurance and steal the cash in the safe as compensation for the back rent.

YOU might have plans to redevelop or renovate.

YOU suggest to the police officer that he investigate the rent situation. He should also check with the local government authorities to see if the property had recently been cited for falling into disrepair or needing expensive renovations. Any application to redevelop the property could pose some interesting questions also.

The fireman’s perspective:

YOU arrive at the fire to realize that the warehouse can’t be saved and opportunistically decide to break into the safe. YOU certainly have the right tools on hand. To cover the crime, you force the back door lock to make it look like there had been a burglary.

YOU suggest to the police officer that he search the fire engine and firemen before they leave. A quick check of any criminal records might be a good idea here also.

The employees’ perspectives:

YOU are an employee who is aware of the large amount of cash kept in the safe. YOU conceal yourself inside the warehouse until everyone had left. Then, with plenty of time to break into the safe, YOU force the back door lock and light the fire after the most difficult part of the crime is complete without risk of being seen and easily avoiding security patrols.

YOU suggest to the police officer that he get a list of employees and check their alibis for the time they left work until the time of the fire.

It’s quite easy to imagine other roles or viewpoints YOU could consider like:

  • The security patrol officer;
  • A friend or family member that visited the business owner just before the business closed for the day;
  • The grounds maintenance contractor;
  • The adjoining tenants etc etc etc.

The case is not closed just yet.

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Real-life examples of Alternative Perspectives can be found here:

Everyday Examples of creativity in action

Creative play with children using Alternative Perspectives:

Games and activities you can do with your children




Alternative Perspectives … a “targeted” tool of disruption.


Sometimes you just need to “break” something that already exists so that something new can be found to replace it … PROVOCATIVE OPERATION (PO)

Go to … “po”

Lateral thinking provocation


Exactly what is LATERAL THINKING?

Check out my definition by clicking the link.