Some people seem to have a unique ability to approach every situation from several different angles and perspectives, consistently solving problems, coming up with truly innovative solutions, and producing great results for the team. What makes some people better at this than others? The answer is that these people have taken the time to fully develop their own lateral thinking skills.

These traits are very valued by employers and managers, as organisations can greatly benefit from individuals who know how to think in this way.Here are some creative exercises to improve one’s lateral thinking skills:

1. Mind Mapping

Mind maps can help with solving a problem when logical thinking just does not help. This is because these act as visual aids that help one’s brain to adjust its thought processes, which can lead to lots of unexpected answers. Mind maps give you the opportunity to put all your ideas down on paper and then take a step back to gather your thoughts.

2. Use Analogies

A lot of the time, the main problem when it comes to problem-solving is to start a train of thought that is unique. Analogies can be a great way of getting started when you are trying to find new ways of looking at a situation. Translating a problem into an analogy helps you generate movement in your thinking and stimulate new ideas.

3. Reverse Thinking

This involves analysing what people normally do in a situation and then doing the opposite. To avoid getting stuck in the same roadblocks as others, you may want to start at the end and work backwards. For example, identify a problem and then describe what you would like the solution to be. From there, you can begin working backwards to find the starting point to your solution.

4. Fractionation

Breaking a problem down into smaller fractions and then restructuring it differently can help one think outside-the-box because instead of seeing a singular solution to a problem, this will give you a new and unique way of seeing the problem and its solutions.

5. Switch on your 5 senses

Sometimes problem solving requires you to use more than one of your senses; sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch. Opening your mind up to many different ways to experience a problem can lead to new possibilities for different solutions.

It’s safe to say that creative thinking comes into play in many different aspects of life, from personal to professional so brushing up on this skill and developing it further will be very beneficial. We value this skill immensely at BrainRocket, as employees who are able to look outside the box help us come up with innovative ways to approach problems, which the IT world as a whole can truly benefit from.