Principles of divergent thinking

As mentioned in the article, “Is a child more creative than an adult?“, we know that there are four metrics by which our level of creativity can be evaluated – attitude, knowledge, evaluation and imagination. We also discussed that the right attitude to creative thinking is to do divergent thinking. Alex Osborne (1888 – 1966), the author of “How to Think Up” in which he presented the technique of brainstorming, gave four principles or procedures for divergent thinking:
  • Defer judgment
  • Go for quantity
  • Make connections
  • Seek novelty
Among the above principles, the first principle – “defer judgment” is the key principle on which the other three principles are based. Deferring judgment is the idea of not mixing divergent and convergent thinking at the same time (read article “Attitude for creative thinking” for more). The second principle – “Go for quantity” is based on the notion that the best way to generate good idea is to have lots of ideas. In this, we urge our brain to go beyond the normal path and extend its horizon of thinking. The third principle – “make connection” encourages us ┬áto cross fertilize superficially unrelated ideas from multi-disciplinary areas in a way that it would make sense to us in what we are trying to do. The fourth principle – seek novelty inspires us to think new regardless of whether we are thinking outside or inside the box, try new experiences, meet new people and travel new places. Seeking novelty gives us an opportunity to think differently that is both practical, novel and useful to our society.

Related article, “Attitude for creative thinking

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