Creative Thinking

Everything we use has been invented by someone such as alarm clocks, internet, radios, pens, buttons, movie theatres etc. All those inventions resulted when someone were faced with a problem or saw an opportunity and created a way to bring their innovation to the world.
The creative thinking is about the ability to break the patterns and traditional way of thinking to be able to start thinking in a creative way.

Creative Thinkers
Following, some characteristics of creative thinkers could include:

  1. They are communicators.
  2. They are open-minded to criticism, ready for new solutions and ideas, and not afraid of evaluating alternative ideas. They will to learn from both successes and mistakes, being able to grow and develop.
  3. They are risk-takers, resilient and they aren’t afraid of taking a chance. They know that leaving a comfort zone is sometimes necessary to succeed, even if it means facing the unknown.
  4. They are knowledgeable, because only by understanding of things and situations, you could develop a background story. Knowledge allows to see the full picture about the sector they work in. They are experts in what they do, and the concept of lifelong learning is what they base their expertise on.
  5. They are flexible to changes and think outside the usual patterns and they aren’t afraid of changing their method of work, and they are good at working with others.

Creativity and innovation
What is the difference between creativity and innovation?
There is confusion about the difference between creativity, innovation and invention: Creativity is the capability or act of conceiving something original or unusual. Innovation is the implementation of something new. Invention is the creation of something that has never been made before and is recognized as the product of some unique insight.

Creating the conditions for Creativity
An interesting approach is the one used by Steven Johnson, in his book “Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation”.
He investigated about seven key patterns behind genuine innovation that recur whenever a creativity is emerging. The Seven Patterns of Innovation identified by Johnson are:

  1. The Adjacent Possible : each innovation is able to open up new ideas to be explored. New ideas are built out of existing ideas – an example is Gutenberg developing his printing press borrowing ideas from a wine press.
  2. Liquid Networks – the development of ideas is coming from a large number of ideas to be connected to ideas you already have in your brain. This was seen during the flowering of the Renaissance and in Silicon Valley. Individuals get smarter if they are in ideas rich environments. Most brilliant ideas have messy beginnings and the best environments are where people can meet and share ideas.
  3. The Slow Hunch - most ideas start with vague hunches and the ideas sometimes take years to be realised – at this point the conclusion may come in a flash- the eureka or light bulb moment. Contrary to popular thought, the ideas take time to be developed – Darwin finally understanding the theory of evolution is a point in case. The modern work environments under continuouspressure are destructive to the development of such kind of thinking and they are not giving the right time to pick up on hunches.
  4. Serendipity –the power of accidental connections. Serendipity is made up of happy accidents that completes hunch or opens up a new adjacent possible. Such ideas fill in gaps in the puzzle. The challenge is to develop ideas that foster these serendipitous connections. Serendipitous moments often happen at the oddest moment –while out on a walk or reading a book. Organisations such as Google are experimenting developing ideas to develop such serendipity to give good ideas opportunities to connect.
  5. Error – great successes are developed through errors. Flemming discovered penicillin by accident but he was up to taking advantage of it – to learn through error. ‘Error often creates a path that leads you out of comfortable assumptions’. ‘Being right keeps you in place. Being wrong forces you to explore’.
  6. Exaptation- borrowing and connecting. Once again Gutenberg modifying wine presses comes to mind. Gutenberg was not interested in wine – he was interested in words but he borrowed an idea from another older technology. The history of innovation abounds with exaptation including the World Wide Web – a sort of mental cross fertilisation. Chance favours the connected mind.
  7. Platforms- environments that allow innovation. A coral reef provides a platform, or habitat, for a diversity of life to evolve. Platforms open doors to the adjacent possible.

Divergent and Convergent thinking

Joy Paul Guilford, an American psychologist, in 1967 developed an interesting approach in the description of the creative thinking. He invented the terms convergent thinking and divergent thinking.
Divergent thinking is a thought process or method used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions. It is often used in conjunction with its cognitive colleague, Convergent thinking, which follows a particular set of logical steps to arrive at one solution, which in some cases is a ‘correct’ solution. By contrast, divergent thinking 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. After the process of divergent thinking has been completed, ideas and information are organized and structured using convergent thinking. One of the principal elements of Divergent Thinking is the ability to generate novel ideas in a short period of time.
Divergent thinking also means being able to think outside the box, making associations that seem less possible to others. Divergent thinking also implies originality and the ability to come up with additional details regarding a potential solution. It is important to understand that, in effect, both divergent and convergent thinking contribute to the gaining of creative insight.

Quote: Intellectual Output 3 / Peppino Franco / S.24

  • en/teaching_and_learning/divergent_and_convergent_thinking.txt
  • Last modified: 2018/02/08 11:41
  • by peppino