Problem: Divergent Thinking
What is Divergent Thinking and Why is it important?
Divergent thinking is a thought process or method used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions. It typically occurs in a spontaneous, free-flowing, “non-linear” 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. Following divergent thinking, ideas and information are organized and structured using convergent thinking, which follows a particular set of logical steps to arrive at one solution, which in some cases is a “correct” solution.
While there might be types of people who are more likely to think divergently, promoting divergent thinking is possible through various creative exercises. Making lists of questions, setting aside time to think or contemplate, brainstorming, subject mapping, bubble mapping, keeping a journal, role-playing games, free writing and artwork are all ways to work the divergent thinking muscle.
Benefits of it in the workplace
Why is this happening?
It’s more likely that people have experienced convergent thinking, rather than divergent thinking, in their workplace. Most businesses are more conservative and are solution-based. They might feel that allowing for divergent thinking is a luxury; Time is Moneyand divergent thinking is just not worth the investment.
But businesses don’t take risks are not going to advance. Yes, we live in a time of speedy changes, technological disruptions, interconnectivity and diverse workforces. All of that, however, calls for a new way of being able to look at things and think of ways to progress. That’s where divergent thinking comes in. It’s inherently creative and often innovative. That’s worth the investment.
How Boost Helps stimulate Divergent Thinking
The following are some ways to kickstart divergent thinking for better leadership.
- Think About Thinking: Take time out to just think, contemplate and muse on something. That doesn’t mean you approach a subject blindly; research it. Collect the data you need to understand the context of the problem, but then allow yourself time just to sit with it and see what arises. Furthermore, don’t be hesitant to brainstorm with the team. Remember, no idea is wrong, even if it appears contradictory. Challenge your established plan and previous decisions.
- Execute, Then Improve: Divergent thinking doesn’t mean being indecisive. It is more about experimentation, seeing what will happen, rather than being certain that the right path forward is the one that comes from traditional means. That means executing with caution but not conservatively.
- Get Feedback: Don’t work in a vacuum. Divergent thinking is a group activity. But this concept goes beyond brainstorming. Train, coach and collaborate with your team in order to facilitate an environment where new ideas can flourish without fear. Adopt an innovation culture.
- Invest in Yourself: But it’s not just the team that needs nourishment, so does the leader. Divergent thinkers are not complacent, but curious, and on an endless quest to improve. They seek to develop and keep learning by going to training sessions on a regular basis. There are online courses, self-help books, and well, the list is endless—as should be the commitment.
- Engage Your Team: More than asking for feedback and assisting in the continuing education of your team, a divergent leader is on board with a climate of full collaboration. This is done with keeping in frequent communication with your team, both formally and informally. Having a group of divergent thinkers and a leader who uses divergent thinking will expand the creativity and ideas exponentially.
- Boost training reduced staff disengagement by 25%
- Improved confidence by 40%
- Increases sales by 39%
- Motivation increased by 20%
- Improved Focus by 30%
- Mitigates risks and liabilities within the organization
- Data from Boost MTLA pre and post assessments 2017-2018
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