Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Creativity, Puzzles and humour through lateral thinking

I had wrote on Lateral Thinking in a previous post. There I had given a very brief introduction on the concept and advantages of thinking the lateral way.In this post I am planning to show that it is not an alien concept and we encounter it in our every day life and even uses it some time to solve trivial problems without realizing...

So before we proceed I would like to recall the way lateral thinking is done. The mind continuously makes patterns with information accessed by it, that later becomes difficult to break or modify. Lateral thinking enables us to rearrange or modify these patterns and come to dramatic and effective results....

Creativity and Innovation

Creativity sounds a word too complicated... But basically many creative ideas originate when two totally different ideas are joined together or when the the information available to all is analysed from a different approach. de Bono calls it an outsider's approach. 
In his own words:
"For many years physiologists could not understand the purpose of the long loops in the kidney tubules: it was assumed that the loops had no special function and were a relic of the way the kidney had evolved.Then one day an engineer looked at the loops and at once recognized that they could be part of a counter-current multiplier, a well-known engineering device for increasing the concentration of solutions. In this instance a fresh look from outside provided an answer to something that had been a puzzle for a long time. "

Puzzles are of different types- mathematical, logical and some that requires out of the box thinking. Basically puzzles require us to arrive at a conclusion or a solution from processing certain information supplied to us. In case of mathematical and logical puzzles the processing is quite simple. A step by step procedure will already be there to move, and if this procedure is followed we reach the conclusion.
Haretown and Tortoiseville are 44 miles apart. A hare travels at 8 miles per hour from Haretown to Tortoiseville, while a tortoise travels at 3 miles per hour from Tortoiseville to Haretown.
If both set out at the same time, how many miles will the hare have to travel before meeting the tortoise en route?

Solution: The hare and the tortoise are together covering the distance at 11 miles per hour (i.e., on adding their speeds).
So, they will cover the distance of 44 miles in 4 hours.
Thus, in 4 hours, they will meet and the hare will have traveled 32 miles.

But in certain other kinds of puzzles these methods never work. In those cases the information given to us will be either partial, made to mislead the situation or both... There will not be any solution mathematically or logically. What requires is to think out of the box, from a new perspective.. To rearrange the patterns that are made by the information given to us.

A man lives on the twelfth floor of an apartment building. Every morning he takes the elevator down to the lobby and leaves the building. In the evening, he gets into the elevator, and, if there is someone else in the elevator -- or if it was raining that day -- he goes back to his floor directly. Otherwise, he goes to the tenth floor and walks up two flights of stairs to his apartment. Why?

Solution: The man is a dwarf. He can't reach the upper elevator buttons, but he can ask people to push them for him. He can also push them with his umbrella.


The best humor always is the result of lateral thinking. 
"If at first you don't succeed, skydiving may not be for you."

The first part of the statement reminds you of a quote that you are well aware. So the mind pulls out those patterns made in the past ready to use them. But by the time second part is stated, those patterns become obsolete.. because a new revelation is made..This causes humour. Some times lot of built up is made by using the patterns already created in the brain and in the final moment rearranging them to give a totally different picture.  

His face was pinched and drawn. With faltering footsteps he wended his way among the bustling Christmas crowd.
"Kind sir," he suddenly exclaimed, "will you not give me a loaf of bread for my wife and little ones?" The stranger regarded him not unkindly.
"Far be it from me," he rejoined, "to take advantage of your destitution. Keep your wife and little ones; I do not want them."

Here an atmosphere is created till the end and in the last reply, a sudden twist is mad, so that the hearer realizes that stranger has misunderstood the request which causes the mental pattern to get rearranged thereby creating humour.

Answer for the picture puzzle :


1 comment:

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