It has been a relatively long time since the world has been introduced with the concepts of 'convergent' and 'divergent' thinking. While convergent thinking aims to focus on numerous logical methods to arrive at a correct answer, divergent thinking aims to brainstorm creatively on a problem to come up with various possible answers. While convergent thinking is more apt in studying science and technologies, divergent thinking aims to develop creative skills, which is required to pursue humanities. Since hundreds of years, debates have roared in the psychology field, if it is possible to teach a creative approach to problem solving.
What is Divergent Thinking?
Divergent thinking is a method or process of thinking, that aims to generate a lot of ideas about a single topic in a relatively short span of time. To seek answers to any question by this thinking process, one breaks a question into smaller parts and then information about each part of the question is randomly collected. Once various aspects of the topic are covered, all of them are combined to arrive at a definite answer. Hence, in this form of thinking, free-flowing and spontaneous ideas are randomly generated. Using these ideas, one comes to a definite answer. To think on a divergent pattern of thoughts, one is encouraged to think on any problem based on 'how', 'why', 'when', 'where', and 'what'. As per psychologists, not only convergent thinking skills, but also creative thinking skills are important in problem analysis. Hence, creativity is the hallmark of this form of thinking. An excellent creative ability is judged by a person's innate ability to come up with a large number of ideas, both simple and complex in nature.
Vital Elements of Divergent Thinking
|Basics of Divergent Thinking|
|Authenticity||An ability to create completely fresh and original ideas is the hallmark of a creative potential. There must be no imitation, at all.|
|Imagination||To come up with innovative and different ideas. To think beyond conventional approaches and produce something absolutely wonderful.|
|Inherent Curiosity||An innate curiosity to ask questions, research, understand people, and observe cultures. Curiosity leads to more awareness about numerous aspects of life and hence triggers more creative ideas.|
|Calculative Risk Taking||An adventurous and risk taking attitude that helps in taking quick decisions to incorporate innovative ideas.|
|Simplification||To solve any problem creatively, simplification of a complex problem into sets of simpler problems. Multilayered ideas can be presented in simpler aspects.|
|Flexibility||Creative problem solving involves thinking about one concept in different ways. That is one aspect of the problem may have many solutions.|
|Fluency||An ability to generate many ideas simultaneously.|
|Elaboration||To develop few ideas into sources of numerous other ideas and thought patterns.|
In the recent years, there has been a lot of emphasis on developing divergent thinking skills in children and candidates applying for jobs. Brainstorming, mind mapping, free writing, and keeping a journal are some adequate exercises for developing the inherent creative skills in our personality. In fact, habits like journal writing help us to solve problems in an effective manner, as we critically analyze problems by considering various pros and cons of a situation. Moreover, mind mapping habits trigger our brain cells to analyze numerous options to solve a problem and hence our creative thinking skills develop gradually.
It is a fact that any question that triggers your imaginative power and thinking skills, helps you to develop creative skills. For example, a question that can trigger you to think creatively is, make as many sentences as you can by using the word, 'knot'. Many firms use divergent thinking tests to analyze the creative potential and thinking abilities of candidates during aptitude exams. Divergent thing is really helpful for people in advertising, marketing, and similar creative fields as this pattern of thinking helps professionals to take better decisions.