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Divergent Thinking – Root of Creativity

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.

  1. Write things down : Not all your ideas will be worthwhile, but they might trigger new ideas. Make a list of your thoughts.
  2. Watch for accidents : You can sometimes make the best discoveries when you’re searching for something else.
  3. Reverse the polarity : Write down as many assumptions about the problem as you can think if. Reverse them.
  4. Think in metaphors : A metaphor is a link between two dissimilar things. They open up the creative side of the brain.Β 
  5. Arrange blind dates : Use “combinatory play” to throw unrelated ideas together to see if they create a new idea.
  6. Steal from other domains : Explore how an idea from one industry or discipline could be adapted to another.
  7. 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.
  8. Think in pictures : Visual thinking can strip a problem down to its essence, leading to profoundly simple connections.
  9. Ask simple questions : Challenge assumptions by posing simple questions. Questions and curiosity kickstart creativity.Β 

So what type of a thinker are you? Convergent or Divergent?Β 

27 replies »

    • The secret to creating new ideas is to separate your divergent thinking from your convergent thinking. This means generating lots and lots of options before you evaluate them. Such brainstorming techniques are used during divergent thinking.

      Both Osborn and Parnes note the importance of removing the barriers to divergent thinking in their book (Visionizing) . They suggest that adverse criticism is taboo, free-wheeling is desirable, quantity breeds quality, and combinations and improvement are sought.

      Liked by 1 person

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