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  • Post category:DESIGNING
  • Post last modified:October 14, 2021
  • Reading time:5 mins read

Designers and thinkers always try to organize and plan their ideas to develop their designs and make them more luring. Although many times, the plans and strategies are linear and vertical, directly focusing on the execution through a planned process. But sometimes, designers handling complicated projects, just can’t go through the complications in a linear way, so they adopt a lateral way of designing. This article will acquaint you with the lateral thinking methodology, so you can do idea generation for professional designing.

Lateral thinking methodology is a thinking process used in design thinking for idea generation for professional designing. It involves unobvious reasoning to develop an out-of-the-box thinking used to develop ideas that may not be obtained through traditional way of vertical and critical thinking.

The term was introduced by Edward De Bono in 1967 in his book ‘The Use of Lateral Thinking’. He stated in his book that more creative answers can be found by taking a sideway step in thinking process rather than going straight, to view a different perspective of the design. Also read our blog on ‘SIX THINKING HATS PROCESS- DE BONO’S WAY FOR DESIGN THINKING’ to know about another design thinking and idea generation method developed by Edward De Bono.

Below are the techniques of lateral thinking methodology, which you can use to create unique ideas for your design:

lateral thinking methodology

Alternatives/Concept Extraction

The alternatives idea generation technique is about the significance of a concept, in breeding new ideas. In lateral way of designing, a variety of methods are used to implement conceptualisation in idea generation phase for professional designing.

Concepts are general ideas or ways of staging things. In this technique, you have to think a number of specific ways to implement a concept for generating new ideas. And then, you have to synthesise new and alternative concept from the newly generated ideas. This would help you in creating a whole new pathway for developing the creatives.

lateral thinking methodology


This technique for lateral way of designing requires you to sharpen and deliberately change your focus to improve creative efforts. You must learn to change your focus from one thing to another. It will help you to cover more aspects of design thinking. For example, while working on a design, you are focusing on the central idea. Now, if you change your focus to different aspects of the design, there are higher chances of idea generation. So, learn to change your focus to different areas and lead to a breakthrough idea.

lateral thinking methodology


The working of this idea generation technique, is already given in its name. In the lateral way of designing, challenging the old traditional way of designing must be done. It will help you to break free from the limits of conservative way of thinking. It is based on the very assumption that there are many different and creative ways to do things, even if no problem is there with the current process. It will also help you to come out of your comfort zone for idea generation for professional designing.

lateral thinking methodology

Random Entry

In this technique, random inclusion of a word, picture, sound, or other stimulus takes place. It is used to open new lines of thinking creative ideas for design by contrasting the central idea of design with completely unrelated things. This tool will help you to play into the power of the human brain, to find unexpected connections between seemingly unrelated things for idea generation for professional designing.

lateral thinking methodology


The Harvesting idea generation technique involves harvesting workable ideas that can be executed right away, from the newly generated ideas. This technique is used at the end of the phase of idea generation for professional designing. Using this technique, you can differentiate between ideas that may prove to be significant in the current situation and those in future. Spot the ideas that can be implemented right away and save rest for the near future.

lateral thinking methodology

Treatment of Ideas

This technique is used in the lateral thinking methodology and involves treatment of ideas according to their use in the design. It is possible that some of the generated ideas may not work accordingly, with the expectations put on them. To prevent that to happen, the designer needs to find constraints in the ideas. The constraints that are causing a problem with the execution of the idea, should be remoulded and reshaped to fit with the design.

These are some techniques of lateral thinking methodology, which you can apply in your designing process. If you want to know about more designing methodologies, read our blog: ‘10 design thinking methodologies for creative conceptualisation of ideas’.


Uni Square Concepts is an advertising agency located in New Delhi, India. By initiating The Uni Square Blog, we aim to provide a comprehensive portal where readers can educate themselves about the various aspects of advertising and marketing. The articles and blogs are written by our professional team of content writers, under the guidance of senior leaders of Uni Square Concepts including its CEO, Uday Sonthalia.