Tag Archives: Divergent Thinking

This blog post is the second in the creative thinking series. The first blog post introduced the difference between creative thinking and critical thinking including relationship with Enterprise Design Thinking. In this blog post we continue with metacognition (thinking about thinking).

The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination. We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it. The only real valuable thing is intuition. – Albert Einstein

Creative Thinking vs Critical Thinking

This simplified diagram illustrates the skills of creative thinking vs critical thinking and the overlap between them, which shows the core of the problem solving process.

The numeric identifiers within the diagram are based on the thinking skills model developed by Puccio, Murdock, and Mance (2005). The following linear representation of a problem-solving thought process provides an excellent example of how characteristics and behaviors of Critical Thinking and Creative Thinking operate.

Thinking steps


In the following illustration the same numeric identifiers are used. It is a circular representation of the Creative Problem Solving thought process. The vortex of the process contains the role of the facilitator. The facilitator will master the Creative Problem Solving process by using the characteristics and behaviors of Critical Thinking and Creative Thinking.

Creative Problem Solving

The simplest thinking skills are learning facts and recall. Often times, thinking just happens automatically. However, there are times when we consciously think. It may be about how to solve a problem or making a decision. This requires higher order skills include analysis, synthesis, problem solving, and evaluation. Higher skills are necessary to enable us to connect and integrate new experiences into our existing understanding and perception of how things are.

In future blog posts we aim to share our insights when and where creative thinking or critical thinking is appropriate.

© 2014 ARTe Group BV – All rights reserved

This blog post covers metacognition (thinking about thinking) in order to provide a deeper insight about Enterprise Design Thinking. Enterprise Design Thinking is in essence a fusion between creative thinking and critical thinking. Both have their individual strengths when applied at the right time and at the right place. What we need to learn is to use both critical and creative thinking and develop a reflective practice as we change our way of working.

Before we have a deeper look at a reflective practice for the process of problem solving in the next blog. We start with a set of high level classifications and types of thinking:

  • Creative Thinking: Generation of new ideas breaking from established thoughts, theories, rules and procedures
  • Divergent thinking: Breaking up a topic into elements to explore its various components and then generating new ideas and solutions.
  • Critical Thinking: Analysis and evaluation of available information, beliefs, or knowledge.
  • Convergent Thinking: Bringing facts and data together from various sources and then applying logic and knowledge to solve problems or to make informed decisions.

These four types of thinking can be divided into two categories. Divergent thinking is like the definition hints a form of creative thinking and convergent thinking a form of critical thinking.

 divergent-convergent thinking

The diagram above captures the correlation of Enterprise Design Thinking process with divergent thinking and convergent thinking. It also highlights three moments in time with specific interaction with the stakeholders involved in making choices.

The easiest way to remember the difference between divergent thinking and convergent thinking is: “Divergent thinking is to create choices and convergent thinking is to make choices”.

The diagram depicts the following moments for making choices:

  • Defining the strategic priorities before exploring ideas. Based on formulate challenges the strategic priorities can be set.
  • All explored ideas need to be evaluated and the design directions need to be clarified before possible solution can be formulated.
  • Before starting with the blueprint consensus is required about which feasible solutions are feasible. This should lead to the decisions making required to start with the formulation of a transformation plan.

In the next blog post of the creative thinking series we will zoom in to the difference between creative / divergent thinking and critical / convergent thinking.

© 2014 ARTe Group BV – All rights reserved