As we are growing up our opinions are in general resolved by two forms of logic; inductive reasoning, where our assumptions are ‘right’ if we have strong evidence or logical explanation for the conclusion or deductive reasoning when our arguments are evaluated upon their reasonability or simple generalisation. This is how we as a human being conclude if a certain thing or statement is right or wrong.
However, it is important to understand different think styles (De Bono’s six thinking hats), which give us an ability to grow, combine knowledge of different subjects and not assume any matter around us. There are four main thinking styles to consider.
A- Lateral thinking: combines both, logic and creative thinking. With this kind of thinking, we eliminate assumptions and evident throughs. It allows us to generate ideas, which are evolved at looking at objects from unique perceptive. Lateral thinking helps us to solve the problems by a different approach in comparison with other thinking styles when the solutions are solved by study or principles.
B- Convergent thinking: undertake solution to the problem based on arguments, quick and fast connections or a systematic study. In general, this kind of logic thinking has one solution to a described problem.
C- Divergent thinking: occurs in a spontaneous manner so that allow our thoughts to generate as many creative ideas and solutions as possible. It is known as opposite of convergent thinking, which is used after of process of divergent thinking to structure information and ideas.
D- The system thinking: creates understanding needed for long-term solutions. System thinking allows us to focus on larger numbers of interactions, rather than divide them into smaller parts of the certain problem (Aronson, 1996).
To sums it up, this is the ‘little formula’ what the different thinking styles mean:
♦ A – Lateral (B + C) / B – Convergent (‘logic’) / C – Divergent (‘creative’) / D – Systems (‘structure approach’) ♦
Unfortunately, our busy lives are more often taking our minds away from divergent thinking, which is necessary for bright ideas to evolve. It is easier for brains to do things on auto-pilot or work in routine patterns. After all, why would we challenge things around us, if they work satisfactorily? But, when it comes to creativity, it is important to challenge perceptions around us to avoid those stable patterns.
Many businesses today are not ready to take the risk, instead, they embrace logic or convergent thinking. This was also noticeable on Bright ideas competition where we were assuming some facts and took it for true, just because someone else confirmed this in the past. Even if this way of thinking does not apply any relevant verification participants were relying on previous data or assuming the outcome that worked in the past.
This means that if we take some theory or assumption, we does not necessarily ignore the establishing concept but should be more open to the recognition that it is one of the possible theory, but the actual ‘true’ idea might be contrasting.
To find the balance between the convergent and divergent thinking was also a purpose of Bright Ideas competition at my university where we were asked to come up with some bright idea and develop a business plan. Combining up with the idea could not be developed just by convergent thinking as this would not bring any new value or idea. In contrast, while designing a business plan it was required to use more of a system thinking, such as how would you get that idea to the market and bring the long-term solution and value. The combination of thinking styles allowed me to establish the tolerance for contradictions, which lead to new bright ideas, however, at that point, I was not aware so much what it takes to get a ‘good’ idea.
My divergent thinking got me to top 7 finalists in Freelance & Creative Arts category among 548 entered ideas and also helped me to gain more understanding of the business plan, which required convergent thinking, and the importance of pitch where requiring lateral thinking. In order to stand out, the typical pitches based on convergent thinking were not as interesting as the one with a hint of creativeness.
So, let’s embrace that lateral thinking in our lives, even if it requires more brain muscle work. It will bring more bright ideas and long- term quality in our lives.