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What is divergent thinking? 

Definition: Divergent thinking is a technique used for generating ideas or solutions to a problem. It works by exploring as many possible solutions or outcomes as possible without evaluating or limiting them right away, which allows for maximum creativity. 

It is the opposite of convergent thinking, which is a linear and analytical process of seeking a single solution to a well-defined problem.

Divergent thinking is crucial for the ideation process and brainstorming sessions because it eliminates constraints and preconceptions. It can be used in numerous contexts, from design and marketing, to decision-making and product development. 

Divergent thinking encourages an open and flexible mindset and is often used in creative brainstorming sessions to generate as many ideas as possible.

What is the difference between divergent, convergent, and lateral thinking?

Divergent thinking is used to develop new ideas, convergent thinking for narrowing down and solving a problem, while lateral thinking is a mix of divergent and convergent thinking — it supports creativity and open-mindedness, like divergent thinking, while seeking only one solution, like convergent thinking.

These three approaches should be used together to reach a comprehensive and effective approach to problem-solving and decision-making.

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Article FAQs

When should divergent thinking be used?
Divergent thinking can be used in any case scenario, but it’s most often used in creative brainstorming sessions and during the ideation process when a new and creative solution is needed, or when an existing problem needs to be approached in a different way.
Can divergent thinking be learned?
Yes, divergent thinking can be learned by developing a flexible and open mindset and practicing different problem-solving skills.
What are some techniques for practicing divergent thinking?
Techniques for practicing divergent thinking are brainstorming, bubble maps, mind mapping, journaling, freewriting, and role-playing.

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