What Is Divergent Thinking? [Definition and Examples]
March 21, 2022 Max 4min read
What Is Divergent Thinking?
Divergent Thinking Definition
“Divergent thinking is also called lateral thinking. It is a thought process of coming up with varied creative ideas to overcome a problem and generate a solution.”
Divergent thinking is often a non-restricted, non-linear, and free-flowing chain of thoughts to let new ideas come as and when they occur.
Six thinking hats are techniques used to come up with such unique ideas.
The term divergent thinking was coined by the psychologist J.P Guilford.
A divergent thinker does not necessarily have a high IQ. Yet, they are curious and often easily take risks.
What Is the Difference Between Convergent and Divergent Thinking?
Convergent thinking is the simple process of finding a single solution to any problem. On the other hand, divergent thinking searches for various solutions to a problem.
A convergent thinker will take a straight path to reach a solution. A divergent thinker takes multiple paths of twists and turns to solve a problem.
A convergent thought is accurate, fast, and logical. A divergent thought has expansive, impulsive, and irregular characteristics.
The convergent thinking method inspires the already tried and tested techniques and reuses them. Divergent thinking does not focus on the existing, proven techniques.
As the name suggests, divergent means varying. Hence, a divergent thinker will choose from the innumerable solutions available, even though they might not relate.
A convergent thinker believes that the world is black and white and would not explore other options.
On the other hand, a divergent thinker takes a black and white approach. However, they are ready and open to exploring other available possibilities.
Whatever the difference may be, both convergent and divergent thinking complement each other.
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What Are Some Divergent Thinking Examples?
A convergent thinker may declare a person as sick or healthy.
On the other hand, a divergent thinker may say that a person can be both sick and healthy.
For example, You might be stressed but could be physically fit.
Another example of divergent thinking is that a divergent thinker mostly thinks like writing an essay.
A divergent thinker will write an essay in no right or wrong way. It will be free-flowing ideas, and you will creatively find the answer.
What Are Some Divergent Thinking Benefits?
Divergent thinking helps develop unique solutions to the issue at hand.
A divergent thinker is likely to explore all the possible solutions to the issue and choose the one that suits perfectly.
Brainstorming ideas is a part of divergent thinking, when the first and the most basic idea is dismissed, it makes room to invite ideas out of the box.
The divergent thinking team ensures that everyone’s ideas are heard and not dismissed without giving an unmistakable thought of comparison.
Thus, it enhances collaboration and team morale.
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In times of complex problems, a divergent thinker facilitates proactive problem solving instead of restrictive problem-solving.
It allows the team to adjust their plans and processes to accommodate the new solution.
How To Use Divergent Thinking?
You must ensure that your team practices divergent thinking in moderation, as too much of anything are harmful.
Excess divergent thinking can bring in a pool of ideas without a solution or implementation.
That is where convergent thinking becomes useful. Convergent thinking organizes and structures the thought process, separating those with quality and potential from the others.
Divergent thinking is needed to gather free-flowing and non-linear ideas.
However, to give these ideas some structure, convergent thinking is essential. Both of these are valuable.
While on the one hand, divergent thinking empowers an individual to explore all the possibilities and options. On the other hand, convergent thinking ensures that you choose the right solution.
Divergent thinking is a thought process of gathering spontaneous, non-linear ideas that help explore all the possibilities to tackle an issue.
Convergent thinking is a process of organizing ideas and thoughts. It provides clarity in making a good decision.
Creativity is the ability to gather a unique set of solutions and ideas.
And as we already know, divergent thinking requires immense curiosity, creativity, and openness to exploring ideas to achieve solutions.
In this way, divergent thinkers must be curious as well as creative to be able to generate innovative solutions.
Divergent thinking takes place in an open and spontaneous environment. It allows the mind to flow freely in many directions.
And this space lets the mind focus on varied ideas rather than the available techniques.
Hence, solutions are born cognitively.