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Diagonal Thinking: Introduction

'Diagonal Thinking’ is the concept which underpins a new tool designed to aid the recruitment of talent into the creative industries, especially from a more diverse range of people. The research has tested and validated the hypothesis that the most successful individuals working in adland are both linear and lateral thinkers – they think ‘diagonally’.

 Click here to take the self assessment.


The IPA has been working with management consultancy  AgencyPeople on the 'Diagonal Thinking' project to identify what features are shared by people, from all disciplines, that make it to the top in the advertising industry.

On Tuesday 16th September 2008 the IPA released its online Self-assessment tool , which is available to all individuals, and marks the next stage in the project. Further background on the tool can be found here

Why have we developed it?

To attract a more diverse workforce and people from certain social, ethnic and educational backgrounds who would not consider advertising as a career option – a high risk for employers in a highly competitive and globalising market.

What will it assess?

The Diagonal Thinking Self-assessment measures two components: linear (or rational) thinking, and lateral (or creative) thinking. Linear thinking is defined as the ability to reason analytically and logically. On the other hand, lateral thinking is about creating new ideas and making links between ideas that weren’t previously connected.

External links


Guardian Careers: Breaking into advertising , Alex Benady, 27th September 2008

Media Week: Diagonal Thinking is a vital tool for a career in advertising , Tess Alps, 7th October 2008

MediaTel: Advertising is all about 'Diagonal Thinking' , Hamish Pringle, 30th November 2009

Last updated 26/10/2012

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