Lateral thinking is critically important for the design of a safer and more productive future. But, the real problem for the future is that humans are mostly logical thinkers.
In the last millenium, the missionaries of the medieval Church spread Greco-Roman Logic around the world (the right/wrong binary system). Logic is analytical and very good at judgment.
However, as a side-effect, it makes us very slow subjective thinkers. Today, we call this “inside-the-box thinking”.
Since I returned from the Vietnam war, I have been teaching lateral thinking continuously for 38 years because I could think of nothing more important to do. I hold the first PhD in the world in Lateral Thinking (1980), so, as you would expect, I am very much in favour of it!
In this new millenium, in a post-Darwinian, fast-changing and accelerating, hi-tech, data-processing environment we may need to escape from inside to “outside-the-box thinking”, from binary to trinary thinking.
The purpose of lateral thinking is to create new value ... with speed. Nothing does it better or faster.
In my best-selling book Software For Your Brain (1989, ISBN 09473511088) I presented cvs2bvs as a master cognitive algorithm for lateral thinking.
cvs2bvs (or cvsx10=bvs) is a master algorithm that creates new value through disruptive pattern-breaking, surprise, provocation and acceleration through quantum-leaping.
Important points to consider:
Lateral thinking can create new value ten times faster than logical thinking.
The lateral thinking master algorithm is not subjective. It is algorithmic.
Like juggling, lateral thinking is not natural for humans. It is an acquired skill that needs at least ten hours of skilled coaching and practise just to achieve a basic level of skill.
AI computing systems (being not subjective but algorithmic) are already self-programming to do lateral thinking at an exponential rate of acceleration. Better and better and faster and faster than human intelligence.
When is comes to careers, professions and jobs, human intelligence that cannot do lateral thinking is gradually being left behind (Frey & Osborne 2016).
This has already started to include, for example, doctors, lawyers, insurance salespeople, accountants, pilots, gamers, soldiers, sailors, sports referees, waiters, carpenters, lifeguards, drivers, retail-workers, musicians, journalists, scientists, sex-workers, pharmacists, professors, politicians, farmers, teachers, CRMs, engineers, designers, authors, artists, etc etc.
Based on current trends, by 2030, there may begin to emerge two distinct classes of cognitive exponents (whether they be they carbon or silicon): those that can create new value through skilled lateral thinking and those that cannot.
In terms of boardroom productivity, one class will be value fountains and the other value drains.
Some consequences are already predictable and others will be quite unforseen.