This was a recent interview with Michael by a School of Thinking member on the teaching of lateral thinking skills across cultures …

Do SOT lateral thinking tools actually work for Asian students?

In theory the tools are designed for the human brain so they can work for all human brains. However, in practise, translations and cultural expectations and motivations can also play a big part.

It has been argued that Asian students are less creative than Western Thinkers, would you agree to this claim? 

I have not seen any evidence to support such a claim per se. I cannot see how this would be possible from a cognitive neuroscience viewpoint. Again, there may be local factors that influence educational outcomes, as is widely experienced across the pedagogical spectrum, due to political, cultural expectations, socio-economic and other factors.

Should lateral thinking be a stand alone subject taught in higher ed or even as early as high-school?

In many schools thinking skills are taught, sometimes under the heading of Critical Thinking. The range of skills varies so it is unclear to what extent Lateral Thinking skills are taught. 

A lot more emphasis should be placed on lateral thinking rather than learning. Lateral thinking is about outcomes, performance and value-creation. In SOT we focus less on Student Learning Objectives (SLOs) and more on Student Performance Objectives (SPOs). 

We ask the question: what can students do? not what did students learn?

SPOs are an education strategy SOT imported from the Australian military leadership training doctrine known as The Scheyville Experience.

What implications does lateral thinking have on the quality of teaching and learning? 

In many ways lateral thinking is an alternative to teaching and learning, although I think both are necessary. Teacher-driven learning is not preferable to student-driven learning although it is traditionally treated as such. I would like to see the balance restored. 

From a strategic thinking perspective, one could argue that students need only be taught Lateral Thinking, Latin and Physics from primary school onwards and with these cognitive skills they can search for whatever other information they need. Music, dance, art and sport could get more time, too. 

Non-compulsory National Service could also raise Australia's national value-creation skills level.

Why does lateral thinking matter?

Because of the shadow of the future. Currently, the world’s *GDP is US$60 trillion. (*the total of all the countries of the world’s products and services for the year). In 30 years, by around 2050, this will grow to an estimated US$200 trillion. This will be the most exciting time for innovation and growth in all of human history. 

The next 30 years will yield US$140 trillion in new customers—globally! 

So, the shadow of the future means this … which countries will be the ones to win the lion’s share of this growth? Which enterprises will be the first to get these brand new customers? Which products and services will be in most demand by this coming tsunami of customers? 

Those products and services which will be in big demand by this next boom of customers will be those clever ideas created by the most engaged employees, the most innovative employees, and the most entrepreneurial.


Speed of thought is how long it takes you to change your mind.

Speed of thought is how long it takes you to escape from your current viewpoint.

Speed of thought is how long it takes you to switch to a much better viewpoint.

The biggest roadbump to speed of thought is your fear of being wrong.

The most common cause of cognitive inertia is mistake-phobia, the morbid fear of making a mistake.

In the USA, x10 Thinking is being used and promulgated by senior management groups at General Electric, Google, IBM …


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In Australia, x10 Thinking is currently being used by senior management groups at market-leaders like …

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WOMBAT LABS PTY LTD | ABN 37 614 034 196
(WOMBAT Labs is a subsidiary of School of Thinking)


Spend A Day with Michael …

I usually consult with ASX/F500 corporate and government clients but I’ve recently been asked to provide an opportunity to work with innovators, entrepreneurs and small business owners who are also interested in x10 strategy. So, this is it.

These two elite events will be in Melbourne on 7th and Sydney on 9th August. Because of the focus and intensity of the day there are only 5 places for each event.

Michael will help design a bespoke plan for each of the 5 selected participants in the two events. The **consulting fee for each participant is AUD$885.00.

HOW TO APPLY: If you would like to be considered apply directly to Michael here and please answer the following two questions in your message:

• Who are your target customers?

• What is your target offer?

**On the day Michael will do three things with the five participants all included in the $885 consulting fee:

  1. Conduct an x10 Thinking Masterclass

  2. Conduct an x10 Selling Masterclass

  3. Design a bespoke Ten Day Plan for each individual participant to get started immediately following the event which he will personally monitor on a daily basis for the next ten days.


Visit the x10 website:

An inmate grasps the bars of an outside wall at the Penitentiary on which a mural of prisoners has been drawn. Port-au-Prince, Haiti. UN Photo/Victoria Hazou

It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.

– Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela Rules

In the resolution A/RES/70/175, the General Assembly decided to extend the scope of Nelson Mandela International Day, observed each year on 18 July, to be also utilized in order to promote humane conditions of imprisonment; to raise awareness about prisoners being a continuous part of society; to value the work of prison staff as a social service of particular importance.

A/RES/70/175 not only adopted the revised United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, but also approved that they should be known as the “Nelson Mandela Rules” in order to honour the legacy of the late President of South Africa, who spent 27 years in prison in the course of his struggle referred to above.