With the higher competencies required of an individual, several students have now started utilizing resources provided by reliable online platforms and online courses. These courses tend to be useful to students by helping them manage their course and time better, helping them understand the concepts quickly, thereby making their way through a course relatively easier.

The concept of lateral thinking is currently being used popularly in all sectors and businesses. However, it is exceedingly important in the field of management and posts requiring an individual to lead a group or task force.

Most eLearning platforms and websites provide facilities for students to utilize their lateral thinking skills either consciously or even unconsciously. Here are a few ways to improve your lateral thinking skills with the help of your online learning courses.

What is Lateral Thinking?

In order to improve your skillset in lateral thinking, a fine understanding of the concept is crucial. In simple terms, lateral thinking can be termed as “the ability to approach problems and situations from varying angles.” To think laterally, one must be able to frame different conflicting scenarios within their mind, then try to come up with necessary solutions and measures.

This differs significantly from the classical methods of “vertical thinking,” which is usually practiced by decision-making parties. Though a decision or a problem solved utilizing vertical methods of thinking can prove beneficial in several cases, there are a few situations that cannot be solved on the basis of right and wrong alone. This calls for lateral thinking.

Renowned psychologist Edward de Bono was the one first to propose the theory of lateral thinking. His main argument was based on the fact that a conventional vertical approach assures only a righteous decision. In contrast, lateral thinking would result in a decision that is rich in all aspects.

Stay curious

As always stated, curiosity has and always will be the primary driving force for the discovery and invention of anything new, be it a problem-solving method or an entire system altogether. Curiosity will always be a trait with several perks along the way for any student, be it eLearning or traditional methods. 

Apart from this, curiosity is necessary for anyone interested in constantly improving in whatever they do. This applies to lateral thinking as well, especially for those involved in jobs and courses involving working in teams.

Currently, several experts suggest that lateral thinking is best applied when individuals work in teams, preferably small groups. This way, an individual comes across several aspects of a single issue and gets to know the views and angles of approach made by different thinking methods. 

These facilities are even being provided by online eLearning courses like a leadership development program, which is focussed on improving the leadership and guiding abilities of an individual. Such posts require an individual to have extensive skills of lateral thinking.

Constantly ask questions

Keep your mind fast-moving at all themes and continue asking questions that require an ample amount of thinking. Question anything and everything that you think is worth being concerned about. One can either ask these questions to himself or to a group.

Posing such questions that provoke extensive thought processes helps an individual gain an idea about the different types of thinking expressed by several individuals. Honestly speaking, each and every individual has a unique way of approaching an issue and coming up with methods to solve a problem.

Coming across all these different views and angles towards a single problem can help you acquire the skill of looking at a single thing through the eyes of several minds, which is basically the entire idea of lateral thinking itself. Hence, this could be the best way there is to boost your skills in lateral thinking.

Debate on the issue

As of common knowledge, debates are based on the principle of diverging opinions which conflict with each other. But what we fail to notice is that, after witnessing a debate on a specific topic, one is provided with extensive knowledge regarding the many aspects of the same, including the positive and negative parts. So to interrelate this with the title, a debate allows you to see  the views provided by all the teams involved simultaneously and to come to a conclusion of which team poses better points.

Current eLearning systems promote such activities within their forum. It is a highly effective and interesting method to help improve lateral thinking skills while addressing the academic aspect. Numerous online platforms strictly focused on debates are available for the public to participate in, thereby allowing individuals to gain ideas from all around the world.

Such methods are of major importance in management certification courses because anyone in the management field is constantly posed with problems requiring lateral thinking. Professionals within the field of management are constantly under pressure to come up with solutions and practices to either solve a crisis in the business or improve existing methods, which is why lateral thinking is vital to them.

Work with reverse questions

This might seem like a confusing term, but it is rather simple. Usually, we are given the question and asked to work towards acquiring the answer. But here, one is initially provided with the answer and is asked to come up with questions that could be the source of the given answer.

Working this way helps boost the student’s overall exposure, which ultimately boosts the level of knowledge required and improved methods of application of acquired knowledge.

Come up with mind-maps wherever possible

Whenever one requires rapidly-firing ideas or brainstorming sessions, this has been a go-to method. Mind maps are basically charts that hold all the necessary information of a situation, which is then expanded out in all directions with appropriate measures, including whatever pops into a person’s head.

A mind map can be a fun way to work within groups, and it can increase the number of ideas and scenarios that a group can come up with. Nowadays, several websites and assistive software can help create mind maps when provided with the appropriate data, and you could make use of them as well.

Never stop with a single solution

There might be a few cases where the answer is really obvious, and you have concluded it within a few minutes of work. However, if you are someone just getting into the field, or are working to improve the lateral thinking skills of yourself or of those in a group, keep coming up with alternate ways to solve the issue. This plays a major role in handling adverse situations within work, which might be pretty common in the management sector.

Wrapping up

These days, with the increased employee pool with decreased number of job openings, lateral thinking is one of the skills that will help you stand out from the applicants, thereby getting you one step closer to your job. If you are someone in a stable job already, this can help kickstart your career to your liking.

In conclusion, the current competent system requires anyone and everyone to have a considerate amount of lateral thinking in order to survive. Be sure to check out Great Learning for more courses and information to help improve your lateral thinking skills.