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The Alternative Board Blog

Incorporate Lateral Thinking to Stimulate Creativity

Aug. 10, 2014 | Posted by The Alternative Board

When you are up against a problem that appears unsolvable, try using a concept called “lateral thinking” to break out of your usual way of thinking. By crossing sideways out of your normal patterns of thought, you will make connections with unrelated patterns that will allow you to develop new ideas.

In order to solve certain challenges, you must deviate from the limited and automatic thinking that is locked into your brain. Based upon certain information that is stored in the human brain, when we process so many things we tend to automatically do them without engaging in an actual thought process. This is a repetitive response that affects more than just physical movement—it is also a mental response. Hence, most people never even get their creative juices flowing because of this automatic, habitual thinking which blocks their creative ideas.

The minds of truly creative people are constantly alive and always yielding dividends. Sometimes lateral thinking will carry you beyond the logical into what may appear to be the absurd. Don't resist or automatically eliminate an idea because it appears “crazy.” Rather, allow your mind to wander and leave it free to explore untraditional realms. Some seemingly outlandish ideas have been the foundations for many successful actions.

When you are in the conceptualization mode you need to be fully absorbed by it. Creative thinking can be totally thrown off by something as simple as a phone call or someone asking where a file is—basically, the simple distractions that business owners face daily. The solution to these distractions is to do your conceptual thinking when you are away from the office or from your home. Take yourself someplace you enjoy and let your mind go free.

There is no fast and firm rule for conceptualization, in fact, we all conceptualize differently. The key is to understand how you best conceptualize. Take your time. The basic entrepreneurial nature is to try to implement ideas and changes as fast as possible. Time will allow you the space you need for full conceptualization, which will result in better solutions.


Allen E. Fishman founded The Alternative Board® (TAB), the world’s largest franchise system providing advisory board and executive coaching services to business owners, Presidents and CEOs. TAB’s worldwide business advisory network operates in over 1,000 cities in the United States, Canada, the UK, and Venezuela.

Fishman is also the author of several books in which he shares his business insights to help business owners, including best-sellers:

The Alignment Factor: Unlock Potential, Boost Employee Performance and Increase Profits

7 Secrets of Great Entrepreneurial Master: The GEM Power Formula for Lifelong Success (McGraw-Hill, 2006)

9 Elements of Family Business Success: A Proven Formula for Improving Leadership & Relationships in Family Business (McGraw-Hill 2008)

Read our 19 Reasons You Need a Business Owner Advisory Board

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Written by The Alternative Board

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