Lateral Thinking, Logical Thinking, Applied Creativity

Certain processes enhance creative output and others enhance innovative output. Defining creativity as problem identification and idea generation and innovation as idea selection, development and commercialisation, this article will tackle stages two and three using the three-stage process of lateral thinking, logical thinking and applied creativity.

The start of the process involves building a sizeable idea pool of quality ideas. In this article, we can define quality as being a large number of ideas and a large number of diverse and novel ideas.

Simply creating the above three categories enhances the size of the idea pool. Whereas we might initially have come up with 20 ideas, we are now consciously able to come up with 20 ideas and then 20 others that are purposefully diverse and yet still 20 more that are purposefully novel. This framework that we are beginning to construct begins to show the value of frameworks and models. They break up problems into smaller, more manageable parts and allow the mind to focus on each.

We can also use lateral thinking techniques to enhance the size of our idea pool. This involves processes such as generating ideas without conscious direction, for the sake of generating ideas, purposefully ridiculous ideas, ideas generated from links to diverse and novel objects that have no relation to the apparent problem.

Next, we can use logical thinking to generate ideas and increase the quality of the idea pool still further. This involves using established models and associations that are recognised as being linked to the problem to generate ideas. For example, a million business models exist to address particular problems. SWOT, PEST, Five Forces, Competitive Advantages etc can be used if the issue is indeed a business one.

All of the above requires that creative thinking in general be used. That is daring, uninhibited, free-spirited, imaginative, unpredictable and revolutionary.

With a sizeable and good quality idea pool, we now begin to use critical thinking to reduce the ideas to feasible ones ? applied creativity. Critical thinking involves being reductive, logical, focused, conservative, practical and feasible.

Once we have a list of feasible ideas, we then further reduce the selection further through risk-reward mechanisms such as the S-curve and idea source probabilities. That is because most organizations do not have the resources to innovate all their good ideas and so only the most likely are given the resources and opportunity to succeed.

This topic is covered in depth in the MBA dissertation on Managing Creativity & Innovation, which can be purchased (along with a Creativity and Innovation DIY Audit, Good Idea Generator Software and Power Point Presentation) from You can also receive a regular, free newsletter by entering your email address at this site.

Kal Bishop, MBA


You are free to reproduce this article as long as no changes are made and the author's name and site URL are retained.

Kal Bishop is a management consultant based in London, UK. He has consulted in the visual media and software industries and for clients such as Toshiba and Transport for London. He has led Improv, creativity and innovation workshops, exhibited artwork in San Francisco, Los Angeles and London and written a number of screenplays. He is a passionate traveller. He can be reached on

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