A research piece promoted by rockstar educationalist, Sir Ken Robinson, attempted to quantify by just how much we actually sucked at divergent thinking. What I have gathered from various research papers is that nurturing of your divergent skills is a lifelong project. So here are a few suggestions.
- Write things down : Not all your ideas will be worthwhile, but they might trigger new ideas. Make a list of your thoughts.
- Watch for accidents : You can sometimes make the best discoveries when you’re searching for something else.
- Reverse the polarity : Write down as many assumptions about the problem as you can think if. Reverse them.
- Think in metaphors : A metaphor is a link between two dissimilar things. They open up the creative side of the brain.
- Arrange blind dates : Use “combinatory play” to throw unrelated ideas together to see if they create a new idea.
- Steal from other domains : Explore how an idea from one industry or discipline could be adapted to another.
- Start from a different place : While the worst ideas can never be the best idea, it will take your imagination to a different staring place.
- Think in pictures : Visual thinking can strip a problem down to its essence, leading to profoundly simple connections.
- Ask simple questions : Challenge assumptions by posing simple questions. Questions and curiosity kickstart creativity.
So what type of a thinker are you? Convergent or Divergent?