Convergent and Divergent Thinking

Some notes from reading a book about design in the design reading room at the design building.

The word idea comes from a Greek term meaning "I saw", which picks up on the concept that an idea is an image formed in the mind.

Creativity is best described as a mental process involving the generation of new ideas and concepts, and this process can be broken down into two pathways: convergent and divergent.

It is believed that scientists and engineers display convergent thinking while resolving a problem; which is the deductive generation of the best single answer to the problem.

Whereas artists and performers display divergent thinking; the creative generation of multiple answers to a problem.

Divergent thinking can be utilized as basis for creative brainstorming.

Four basic rules for brainstorming:

  1. Focus on quantity: enhance divergent thinking
  2. Don't criticize: foster greater, risk-free creativity
  3. welcome unusual ideas: aid out-of-the-box thinking, leading to unconventional problem solving
  4. combine and improve ideas: amalgamation of ideas create better solutions through process of association

In a hackathon, coming up with an idea is the hardest part, but it's my favorite part.

I get to brainstorm with strangers I just met online, sharing interesting ideas and combining our unique backgrounds and skills, to build something fun.