Understand Difference

The Power of Divergent and Convergent Thinking in Problem-Solving

Introduction to Divergent and

Convergent Thinking

As humans, our minds have the capability to think and perceive things from different angles. We are able to approach problems and situation with unique and fresh perspectives.

This type of thinking is popularly referred to as

Divergent Thinking. However, when presented with a complex task, it may be challenging to produce an actionable solution with divergent thinking alone.

This is when

Convergent Thinking comes into play. In this article, we will explore the concepts of divergent and convergent thinking, and understand the importance of using both methods together for effective problem-solving.

Importance of both types of thinking

Divergent thinking is known for its ability to think outside of the box, come up with innovative ideas, and embrace creativity. Convergent thinking, on the other hand, emphasizes logical reasoning, systematic thinking, and ensures coherence in solution finding.

The importance of these two types of thinking cannot be overemphasized, especially in an increasingly complex and ever-changing world. Divergent thinking allows us to approach a challenge with a new and unique perspective, while convergent thinking ensures that we pick out the most viable solution among a host of other ideas.

Need for using both types in conjunction

The best approach to problem-solving is to use both types of thinking in conjunction. This will promote the generation of new and innovative ideas, coupled with a decisive and coherent execution of the selected idea.

A common misconception about the convergence and divergence perspective is usually the idea of a tradeoff, where the generation of a large amount of creative ideas reduces the level of rationality in the decision-making process. However, this should not be the case.

The convergence and divergence model suggests that both types of thinking can be merged, leading to a more effective problem-solving process.

Divergent Thinking

Divergent thinking embodies the production of unique and imaginative ideas to tackle complex problems. This type of thinking emphasizes originality, flexibility in reasoning, and a willingness to take risks.

It focuses primarily on thinking without constraints, diverging from conventional models, and examining aspects hitherto unexplored. Credit for the term “

Divergent Thinking” goes to Edward De Bono in his book “Lateral Thinking,” which became synonymous with risk-taking, creative flair, and out-of-the-box thinking.

Characteristics of divergent thinking

1. Open-mindedness: This is an essential characteristic of divergent thinking, as it emphasizes the ability to approach problems without preconceived notions.

2. Curiosity: Divergent thinking promotes a sense of curiosity, which leads to unearthing new information and perspectives.

3. Risk-taking: To fully embrace divergent thinking, individuals must be willing to take risks and explore unconventional methods of solving problems.

4. Flexibility: With divergent thinking, there is no conventional or one size fits all approach to problem-solving.

Individuals must identify alternate solutions and be able to alter their approach when necessary. 5.

Originality: Divergent thinking generates innovative and original ideas that challenge conventional norms. Whether you’re a writer trying to come up with story ideas, an Oscar-winning producer developing a TV series, or an entrepreneur seeking to find creative ways to grow your business, the power of divergent thinking cannot be underestimated.


As seen from this article, divergent thinking and convergent thinking, when used together, make for an effective problem-solving process. Divergent thinking allows us to gain fresh and innovative perspectives, while convergent thinking helps us select and execute the most viable solution.

We hope that having read this article, you now have a better understanding of these concepts and how to approach problems with a divergent and convergent thinking mindset.

Convergent Thinking

Convergent thinking refers to a type of thinking that employs a structured and systematic approach to problem-solving. It emphasizes logical reasoning, seeks to identify the most appropriate solution from a set of alternatives and focuses on finding quick, decisive solutions.

Convergent thinking is often used in solving well-defined problems where there is a clear set of instructions to follow. The term “

Convergent Thinking” was coined by Joy Paul Guilford, a Psychologist renowned for his work on the nature of intelligence.

Characteristics of

Convergent Thinking

1. Structured Assessments: Convergent thinking requires structured assessments where results are obtained by following a specific set of guidelines to achieve the desired outcome.

This often involves a process of elimination, reducing a problem or set of issues to its fundamental components. 2.

Quick Solutions: Convergent thinking favors the practical and immediate approach to problem-solving by identifying the most practical solutions within a given situation. Decisiveness is key, and this process often follows set rules and works best when there is a right answer.

3. Logical Reasoning: In convergent thinking, the most effective way of thinking is through logic and analyzing available data.

This is because the thought process is focused on deriving the right answer, rather than presenting new and imaginative ideas. 4.

Closed-Mindedness: Convergent thinking places a premium on adherence to set ideologies and traditional systems and methods to solve problems. This approach usually goes against questioning established norms.

5. Reality-Based Analysis: The nature of convergent thinking restricts creativity and innovation; therefore, it only involves solutions that are based on pre-existing traditions, knowledge, and experience.

Differences Between Divergent and

Convergent Thinking

Direction of thinking: Divergent thinking focuses on exploring many possible solutions or alternatives, while convergent thinking focuses on finding the optimal solution through a process of elimination. Novelty of thinking: Divergent thinking creates novel and creative solutions, while convergent thinking generates practical solutions that address immediate problems.

Limit of thinking: Divergent thinking does not place limits on the exploration of ideas, while convergent thinking is bound to predetermined rules and guidelines. Certainty of thinking: Convergent thinking emphasizes a definitive answer to a problem or question, while divergent thinking allows for multiple answers with varying levels of certainty.

Efficiency of thinking: Convergent thinking seeks to arrive at the correct answer as quickly as possible, while divergent thinking is more focused on the process of idea generation rather than an immediate solution. Personality of thinking: Convergent thinking usually suits individuals with a more analytical and structured personality, whereas divergent thinking often attracts those with a more imaginative, open, and creative personality type.

Emotional state of thinking: Convergent thinking is more objective and requires maintaining an objective and pragmatic approach, while divergent thinking engages the emotional part of the brain more often to inspire creativity and intuition. Value of answers: Convergent thinking seeks to find the single correct answer, while divergent thinking seeks to explore as many diverse answers as possible.

Intricacy of ideas: Convergent thinking usually produces simpler and less intricate ideas or answers, while divergent thinking often generates more intricate and original problem solutions. Risk taking: Divergent thinking is associated with risk-taking and an openness to new experiences, while convergent thinking is often risk-averse and tries to minimize the potential for failure.

Curiosity: Divergent thinking demands curiosity to explore and experiment with novel ideas, while convergent thinking places a lot of emphasis on a continuous search for the correct answers. Brain activity: Divergent thinking emanates from the right side hemisphere of the brain, which is usually associated with creativity and imagination.

In contrast, convergent thinking arises from the left hemisphere of the brain, which is associated with logical reasoning and analytical thinking. Reasoning: Convergent thinking emphasizes logical reasoning in arriving at a solution, while divergent thinking places more emphasis on unconventional thinking and intuition.

Quantity vs. Quality: Divergent thinking prioritizes the quantity of ideas, while convergent thinking focuses more on quality, with the ultimate goal of finding the most optimal solution.

Time: Convergent thinking usually requires less time and effort, while the nature of divergent thinking varies and may involve more time-consuming creative endeavors.


It is evident from the above that both divergent and convergent thinking have critical roles to play in the decision-making process. Divergent thinking offers creative freedom, while convergent thinking provides a more structured approach to problem-solving.

When used together, divergent and convergent thinking techniques allow individuals to explore many possibilities before selecting the most appropriate solution or course of action. Understanding the differences and importance of both types of thinking is essential in allowing individuals to become more effective and efficient in their creative and decision-making process.

In conclusion, divergent and convergent thinking are two powerful methods that, when used together, provide a holistic approach to problem-solving. Divergent thinking emphasizes creativity, imagination, risk-taking, and curiosity, while convergent thinking prioritizes practicality, quick solutions, logical reasoning, and certainty.

Understanding the similarities and differences between these methods is crucial for efficient and effective decision-making. Utilizing both methods together allows individuals and organizations to approach problems with a unique, original perspective and identify the most optimal solution.

By combining divergent and convergent thinking, individuals can maximize their creative potential and make decisions that achieve the desired outcomes.

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