Popularized by Edward de Bono, “Lateral Thinking” aids innovation by considering that imagining an impossible or unrealistic solution can serve as a stepping stone to discovering a possibly innovative possible solution. The potentially illogical steps then serve as a “springboard” towards other ideas, themselves feasible or not, until a valid solution is obtained.
Among other things, by inverting the perception of a situation, by exaggerating the problem envisaged, by considering practical solutions or by using analogies with problems from a very different domain, lateral thinking destabilizes to open up the field of options.
Lateral thinking techniques broadly aim to cause a break in continuity in the linear thought process. This provocation forces you to get out of a reasoning or a pattern of thought that could get bogged down. This provocation pushes the brain beyond the usual boundaries. The trajectory taken to return to the universe of the possible is a source of innovation and a matter of pure imagination.