Investor Connect Podcast

Lateral Thinking

Hello, this is Hall T. Martin with the Startup Funding Espresso -- your daily shot of startup funding and investing.

Lateral thinking is solving problems using an indirect and creative approach via reasoning that is not immediately obvious according to Wikipedia.

In your startup ideation process consider using lateral thinking.

Here are some steps to implement it:

Come up with a random word and apply it to the problem you are solving. 

This stimulates new lines of thinking.

Ask why five times.

Asking why five times takes you past the symptoms and to the root of the problem.

Examine your current thought patterns to alter your thinking to identify potential new approaches.

Consider alternatives to the current solutions and also to your proposed solution.

Invert the problem and solve it.

To do this solve the opposite of what you are trying to achieve which generates new ways of viewing the problem.

Break the problem down into smaller problems and solve each one.

Use a transitional object to inspire new ideas. 

For example, if you have a management problem look to a figure such as Abraham Lincoln for inspiration.

Ask what you should not do in order to narrow the problem solution set.

Use the subtraction technique in which you ask what would happen if we stopped doing X.

This generates new ways of framing the problem.

Consider these techniques for fostering lateral thinking in your ideation process.


Thank you for joining us for the Startup Funding Espresso where we help startups and investors connect for funding.

Let’s go startup something today.


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Direct download: Lateral_thinking.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00am CDT