Create Innovative Choices For Your Future with Divergent Thinking!

I am reading Tim Brown’s book, Change by Design, How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation.  IDEO is ranked among the ten most innovative companies in the world.  Tim is the CEO of IDEO. 

I was intrigued by the concepts of divergent and convergent thinking.  To experience design thinking, you must understand the difference between divergent and convergent thinking and how they can work together. 

With convergent thinking you are looking at a set of available choices in an existing world.  Divergent thinking is about creating new choices and seeing possibilities that no one else has seen.

When you begin with divergent thinking, you can maximize your choices.  As you increase the number of choices, your life will have become more complex.  However, as Tim Brown comments, “Divergent thinking is the route, not the obstacle, to innovation.”

With divergent thinking you multiply your options as you create choices.  You have more choices in regard to how you understand and apply consumer behavior in creating new products or new experiences. 

With convergent thinking, you head towards a solution.  In the convergent piece you eliminate options and focus on making the choices you wish to implement.

Why does understanding the difference between divergence and convergent thinking matter?  Westerners are taught to take inputs, analyze them against predefined criteria, and then converge upon a single answer.  Convergent thinking is not a good way to probe into the future and create new possibilities.  It is about finding the most expedient answer versus the right answer. 

Divergent thinking opens your mind to many possibilities.  These are two different phases that go together.  If you apply divergent thinking, you can create choices that have not existed before.  When you go into the convergent phase, you are well prepared to find the right answer.

I often use iMindMapping software and techniques to achieve divergent thinking.  What process or tools do you use to stimulate your mind to create new choices for your future?

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