Ten Ways to Develop Logical Thinking & Lateral Thinking

Ten Ways to Develop Logical Thinking & Lateral Thinking

Paul Sloane 31/12/2021
Ten Ways to Develop Logical Thinking & Lateral Thinking

Thinking is the process of considering or reasoning about something. It can be creative, abstract, holistic, logical or lateral.

Logical thinking is the act of analysing a situation and coming up with a sensible solution.

It can entail calculating the pros and cons of a situation by using our mind in an intelligent manner.

Lateral thinking is a manner of solving problems using an indirect and creative approach via reasoning that is not immediately obvious. 

It can be termed as thinking out of the box by running your mind in such a way that you get unexpected results 

What's the Difference Between Logical Thinking and Lateral Thinking?


Logical thinking is used to solve problems in a straightforward way. It sticks to proven methods using judgement to select and reject ideas.

On the other hand, lateral thinking looks seeks to challenge methods, in order to find answers that aren't immediately apparent.

Ten Ways to Develop Logical Thinking Skills


  1. Play chess.
  2. Solve soduko puzzles.
  3. Make lists, analyse your work, break it down into smaller tasks.
  4. Learn problem analysis methods such as six sigma and why, why.
  5. Learn critical path methods.
  6. Study Mathematics.
  7. Study German or Latin.
  8. Study Science and the scientific method.
  9. Read biographies of great scientists and detectives.
  10. Try to develop your arguments and ideas based on facts and evidence rather than emotion and feelings.

Ten Ways to Develop Lateral Thinking Skills


  1. Solve lateral thinking puzzles in a small group.
  2. Solve cryptic crosswords.
  3. Play dingbats.
  4. Ask more questions, more childlike questions, more provocative questions. E.g. ask ‘what if……?’
  5. Incorporate the random. Take a random route to work. Read a random book or magazine.  Speak to random people.
  6. Read poetry and fiction.
  7. Visit art galleries.
  8. Take a different point of view.  E.g. try to think like a clown, a doctor, a criminal, a priest, a painter or an explorer.
  9. Read biographies of great artists, musicians and innovators.
  10. When faced with a problem don’t stop with your first good idea. Keep going. Try to think of many radical, weird, outrageous ideas before narrowing down.

The two lists are not mutually exclusive. You can develop both skills!

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Paul Sloane

Innovation Expert

Paul is a professional keynote conference speaker and expert facilitator on innovation and lateral thinking. He helps companies improve idea generation and creative leadership. His workshops transform innovation leadership skills and generate great ideas for business issues. His recent clients include Airbus, Microsoft, Unilever, Nike, Novartis and Swarovski. He has published 30 books on lateral thinking puzzles, innovation, leadership and problem solving (with over 2 million copies sold). He also acts as link presenter at conferences and facilitator at high level meetings such as a corporate advisory board. He has acted as host or MC at Awards Dinners. Previously, he was CEO of Monactive, VP International of MathSoft and UK MD of Ashton-Tate. He recently launched a series of podcast interviews entitled Insights from Successful People.

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