Activity: Innovation Transfer

Try this lateral thinking activity to draw parallels between successful strategies from another innovation project and your current project.


What is lateral thinking?

Lateral thinking is a way of generating outside-the-box ideas. As a method, lateral thinking involves an attempt to put things together in new ways. As opposed to vertical thinking, which moves one forward in sequential steps, lateral thinking involves restructuring, escape, and the provocation of new patterns.

Activity Objective

To generate successful strategies from another innovation project that might have use in your current project.


Download the activity description and accompanying worksheet here.

Download: Innovation Transfer


One individual or large group broken into smaller groups of three.


30 minutes


A facilitator is recommended for groups over 3. The facilitator might be any member of your staff who is comfortable leading the exercise.


  • Step 1: Write your adaptive challenge at the top of your worksheet.
  • Step 2: Individually, write down the feelings that your challenge brings up in you in the first box.
  • Step 3: As a group, share those feelings and select 2 or 3 of the most significant feelings to focus on.
  • Step 4: Individually, make a list of other situations that made you feel that way in the second box.
  • Step 5: Individually, choose one situation that you dealt with well and fill out the third box with strategies you used to meet that challenge successfully.
  • Step 6: As a group, share those strategies and identify 2 or 3 strategies you might use to respond to your current adaptive challenge.


  • What can you make of these ideas?
  • What new strategy might you develop to meet your current adaptive challenge?


In the comments section, we encourage you to share something that you learned or something that surprised you.

Karina Mangu-Ward is the former Director of Strategic Initiatives at EmcArts.