Have you ever had difficulty getting the right answer or solution when faced with a certain situation? If so, start learning divergent thinking. This creative thinking process enables you to analyze various aspects of a particular topic and come up with several possible solutions in a short amount of time. Divergent thinking is not a difficult process if you know how.
Method 1 of 3: Defining Divergent Thinking
Step 1. Determine the solution to the problem
Divergent thinking is a form of creative thinking by analyzing problems using an unusual mindset. Instead of choosing the status quo or not making a decision, try to find a solution by asking yourself, “What if I did this?” This mindset will generate creative ideas by exploring various possibilities. Instead of deciding on a solution using the usual way, the ability to consider every aspect of a particular situation will lead to a different solution. Divergent thinking will bring up several different methods, opportunities, ideas, and/or new solutions.
Step 2. Think using the right hemisphere of the brain
The left brain hemisphere functions to think rationally, analytically, and make decisions, while the right hemisphere is the center of creativity, intuition, and emotion. The right brain plays an important role in divergent thinking and determining the right solution. Divergent thinking is a thought process that flows spontaneously and is not fixated on existing patterns. Divergent thinking means using lateral thinking (considering various aspects) that is different from traditional and conventional thinking patterns.
Step 3. Solve the problem in a different way from the techniques taught in school
We need creative thinking in order to solve problems, but we weren't used to thinking creatively in school. Instead, we tend to use a linear convergent mindset, for example when answering multiple choice questions. When thinking divergently, the consideration to determine the solution to the problem is based on four main characteristics:
- Agility, namely the ability to generate various ideas or solutions quickly;
- Flexibility, namely the ability to think of various ways to solve problems at the same time;
- Uniqueness, namely the ability to find ideas that are not thought of by many people;
- Elaboration, namely the ability to realize ideas through concrete actions, instead of just conveying bright ideas.
Method 2 of 3: Stimulating Divergent Thinking Ability
Step 1. Learn how to think and meditate
After that, explore the ways you've learned to create new patterns and reflect on them. If you come across an idea that is theoretical in nature, find the connection between it and everyday events and the lessons you have learned from past experiences.
Step 2. Try to look at it from a different point of view, even if it doesn't make sense
For example, imagine that life is like a buffet table and one of the menus is you and then evaluate the table through the various perspectives of the people who will take the food.
- What menu should be served on the table?
- What menu will make them disappointed if it doesn't exist?
- Is there something odd on the table, for example: is there a hairdryer?
- How do you set the table so that the dishes served are more appetizing and what do you need to add to make the dish look more interesting?
- By challenging the imagination, the brain will get used to new thinking patterns so that it is easier to create new ideas that are more useful.
Step 3. Learn how to ask questions
Divergent thinking is not just looking for answers like you used to ask to get answers. You will get the answers you need by asking the right questions. The challenge is to formulate the best possible questions to ask.
- The chances of success are greater if you are able to structure questions that accommodate differences.
- Simplify complex problems by breaking them down into simple issues. After that, ask the question “what if…?” for each of these issues.
Method 3 of 3: Practice Divergent Thinking Techniques
Step 1. Gather ideas
Divergent thinking is done by looking for ideas based on existing ideas. An idea will generate another idea that generates the next idea and so on so that random, unstructured creative ideas are collected. When looking for inspiration in a group, give everyone the opportunity to give their opinion freely. Don't look for practical solutions. Instead, gather as many ideas as you can, even those that seem irrelevant.
- Every idea does not need to be criticized and should be recorded.
- After all the ideas are included in the list, start rereading, evaluating, or criticizing the ideas according to the value of their beliefs or considerations.
Step 2. Keep a journal
Use a journal to record spontaneous ideas that come to mind in unusual times and places. Ask one of the group members to do the task. After some time, the journal will become a source of ideas that can be developed and utilized further.
Step 3. Write a free essay
Focus on a specific topic and write without stopping in no time. Write down every thought that comes to mind as long as it is related to the topic being discussed. Don't think about punctuation or grammar, just write it down first. You can compile, correct and revise its contents when you're done. You just need to define a topic and express various thoughts on the topic in no time.
Step 4. Make a visual mapping of the subject or mind
Turn the collected ideas into a map or visual image that illustrates the relationship between each idea. For example: You want to discuss the topic of how to start a business.
- Draw a circle in the center of the paper and write “Starting a Business” in the center of the circle.
- After that, let's say that you have determined four subtopics, namely: products/services, sources of funds, markets, and employees.
- Since there are four subtopics, draw four lines from the circle surrounding the main topic, each line for one subtopic. Your drawing will look like a sun painting made by children.
- Draw a smaller circle at the end of each line. Write one subtopic in each circle (product/service, source of funds, market, and employees).
- After that, say you define two subsubtopics for each subtopic. For example: the subtopic “products/services” has the subtopics “clothing” and “shoes”, the subtopic “sources of funds” has the subsubtopics “loans” and “savings”.
- For each subtopic, draw two lines from the circle so that it looks like a small sun with two rays of light.
- At the end of each line or “ray”, draw a smaller circle and then write the subtopics within it. For example: for the “product/service” subtopic, write “clothing” in the first small circle and “shoes” in the second small circle, for the “source of funds” subtopic, write “loans” in the first small circle and “savings” in the first circle. in another little circle.
- When you're done, use this map to further develop the topic you covered. This method involves divergent and convergent thinking patterns.
Step 5. Summarize all ideas innovatively
For best results, use both divergent and convergent mindsets as they both play an important role in this process. Divergent thinking is a way of harnessing creativity and convergent thinking enables you to analyze and evaluate all creative ideas to choose the best solution.