Divergent thinking is a thought process or method used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions.
The goal of divergent thinking is to generate many different ideas about a topic in a short period of time. It involves breaking a topic down into its various component parts in order to gain insight about the various aspects of the topic.
Divergent thinking typically occurs in a spontaneous, free-flowing manner, such that the ideas are generated in a random, unorganized fashion. Following divergent thinking, the ideas and information will be organized using convergent thinking i.e., putting the various ideas back together in some organized, structured way.
Importance of divergent thinking
Producing a great design, breakthrough, or work of art often means selecting the best ideas. However, selecting the best ideas would be impossible if there are no ideas from which to select. Consequently, the importance of divergent thinking in generating the pool of ideas cannot be overstated. For example, having 100 ideas with 80 percent of them being unusable would generate more viable solutions than having no ideas while never being wrong. Because divergent-thinking is the primary means of generating ideas, it is the cornerstone of creativity. This is why the overwhelming majority of creativity improvement fools and techniques are designed to enhance divergent-thinking.
How it is done
There are many forms of divergent-thinking such as attribute listing, mind mapping , etc. divergent-thinking can also be done individually as well as in a group. Regardless of how it is done, the primary objective is to generate a large number of ideas. Incidentally, divergent thinking can be improved by factors such as viewing the tasks from many different perspectives, minimizing assumption, and having a higher level of knowledge about the topic. The truth is that divergent-thinking can benefit from any factor which increases the pool of possible ideas. In fact, the quantity of ideas is more important than the quality of ideas with divergent thinking. For this reason, it is best not to judge ideas during the stage of divergent thinking. The judging is best saved for the convergent thinking phase where Idea’s are whittled down to the best solutions.