Lateral Thinking Tool: Random Entry
Edward de Bono's Lateral Thinking tool, Random Entry, uses a randomly chosen word, picture, sound, or other stimulus to open new lines of thinking. This tool plays into the power of the human mind to find connections between seemingly unrelated things.
First, the person or group lists all the alternatives that they can think of without using the tool, Then they select a random word or other random stimulus. Then they juxtapose the stimulus alongside the focus topic and generate ideas to connect the two.
Random Entry Example: The training division of a large IT company wants its trainees to feel at home while they spend several weeks at an off-site learning center. The training team lists alternatives and then chooses a picture at random from a pile of photos to use as a stimulus for more ideas. The picture shows a teapot. They then list ideas that connect the teapot to their focus.
- Teapots are rounded. We could arrange all of the chairs in meeting rooms in circles so that participants can see each other and feel more a part of a group.
- Teapots are often wrapped in cozies to help them retain their heat. We can assign each participant to a permanent study group and provide each group with activities and feedback that encourages collaboration and individual recognition.
Random Entry is one of the easier tools to use with untrained groups, so long as the leader knows what he or she is doing. The results are quick and often innovative.
Learn more about Edward de Bono's Lateral Thinking Thinking Tools.