Category Archives: Analysis

When conducting analysis, don’t jump to conclusions too quickly

The following diagrams, copied from De Bono’s Lateral Thinking, provides a great example of why we should avoid jumping to decisions too early when analysing research findings. If we jump to conclusions too early, we run the serious risk of not getting to the most elegant solution.

De Bono’s puzzle involves adding together a number of objects. With each new object the challenge is to create a regular shaped object.

Step 1 is to put the following objects together…


Having successfully turned these into a square, we then have another object to add…


Turning this into a rectangle is fairly straightforward for anyone, but then it gets a bit trickier…


Having scratched out heads a bit, you’ll end at the final challenge…


Now this is a bit tricky and for most people there will be no obvious way of turning this collection of objects into a regular shape.

How often have you brushed a research finding under the carpet because it didn’t fit with the mental model of the findings you were developing?

The trick is to deconstruct the objects each time a new object is added.

The solution is as follows…