What is Divergent thinking?

Divergent thinking is a thought process or method used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions. It is often used in conjunction with its cognitive opposite, convergent thinking, which follows a particular set of logical steps to arrive at one solution, which in some cases is a ‘correct’ solution. By contrast, divergent thinking typically occurs in a spontaneous, free-flowing manner, such that many ideas are generated in an emergent cognitive fashion. Many possible solutions are explored in a short amount of time, and unexpected connections are drawn. After the process of divergent thinking has been completed, ideas and information are organized and structured using convergent thinking.


Traits associated with divergent thinking

Psychologists have found that a high IQ alone does not guarantee creativity. Instead, personality traits that promote divergent thinking are more important. Divergent thinking is found among people with personality traits such as nonconformity, curiosity, willingness to take risks, and persistence.


Promoting divergent thinking

Activities which promote divergent thinking include creating lists of questions, setting aside time for thinking and meditation, brainstorming, subject mapping, bubble mapping, keeping a journal, creating artwork, and free writing. In free writing, a person will focus on one particular topic and write non-stop about it for a short period of time, in a stream of consciousness fashion.


Playfulness and divergent thinking

Parallels have been drawn between playfulness in kindergarten-aged children and divergent thinking. In a study documented by Lieberman (1965), the relationship between these two traits was examined, with playfulness being “conceptualized and operationally defined in terms of five traits: physical, social and cognitive spontaneity; manifest joy; and sense of humour". The author noted that during the study, while observing the children’s behaviour at play, they "noted individual differences in spontaneity, overtones of joy, and sense of humour that imply a relationship between the foregoing qualities and some of the factors found in the intellectual structure of creative adults and adolescents”


Why does divergent thinking matter?

Allows you to use your knowledge and skills effectively and build new ideas. It is essential for succes in engineering, designing, arts and business entrepreneurship, etc.., and of course facing challenges and succeed in your life.


References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divergent_thinking
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