TILP 36: Lateral Thinking

In this episode, Christy and David talk about lateral thinking in a 4.0 organizational environment. They discuss how lateral thinking shows up in leadership, why it matters over linear thinking, and how to exercise it. 

What is lateral thinking? Lateral thinking builds on traditional logical thinking. It brings creativity, problem-solving, and out-of-the-box thinking into traditional fact-based linear thinking. Lateral thinking takes the whole brain doing it with sometimes being about observation, exploring and examining, or breaking things down into pieces and looking to put them back together in a different way. 

Why does lateral thinking matter? The solutions to the complex problems need to be different, which requires lateral thinking. For you as a leader to innovate, you need lateral thinking. Lateral thinking draws in highly creative people.

How do you do lateral thinking? Practicing in different disciplines gives you different perspectives that you’ll be able to bring to different positions. Learn to ask questions and deconstruct as a leader to get better at lateral thinking. 

Listen in to learn the importance of exercising linear thinking as a leader to enable your team to have a voice, to see the bigger picture, and to find solutions. 

What You Will Learn:  

  • [1:26] Understanding the meaning of lateral thinking
  • [8:40] The difference between the traditional way of thinking and lateral thinking
  • [13:03] Why you have to let go of some processes to adapt to lateral thinking 
  • [16:27] How lateral thinking allows your bigger picture and solution to coexist 
  • [30:31] The top 3 reasons why lateral thinking matter to leaders
  • [33:31] Three different ways you practice lateral thinking


  1. “Lateral thinking is a call to leaders to have your logical thinking and creative thinking coupled together.”– Christy [3:40]
  2. “Lateral thinking forces you to think outside of the traditional box so that you come across a different solution to the problem.”– David [9:29]
  3. “Lateral thinking allows the coexisting of your big picture thinking with your problem-solving thinking at the exact same time.”– Christy [23:12]
  4. “You can’t really innovate inside the box.”– Christy [31:48]
  5. “Problems are problems regardless of what industry they exist in.”– David [37:09]
  6. “Do something that helps your ability to ask questions rather than being the teller.”– Christy [38:48]

Possible Actions to Take

  • Work in different disciplines to develop your lateral thinking skills and bring different perspectives to different positions. 
  • Learn to ask questions and deconstruct problems to develop your lateral thinking skills.
  • Embrace lateral thinking by engaging innovation and creativity outside the box. 

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