Great artists will always be terrific examples of convergent versus divergent thinking and solve problems. Convergent artists stick with established principles and work on perfecting the foundations they learned as apprentices or in school to solve problems. Instead of straying from the norms, they focus on getting the norms right. Divergent artists, on the other hand, offer the world cubist or impressionist views. Both types of artists are working within the same world, yet it’s the divergent ones that we tend to remember, one way or another.
Entrepreneurs who long to make a memorable impact and re-imagine their place in the world would be wise to embrace divergent thinking and solve problems. Unlike convergent thinking, which relies on established parameters, divergent thinking opens the doors to an “anything’s possible” mindset. If convergence is basic Creativity 101, divergence operates as a grad-level course in dreaming and doing.
Not that you should disregard convergent thought completely, It’s necessary for lots of business tasks. However, its divergent cousin offers color and depth to brainstorming, enabling more complex problem-solving abilities, critical thinking skills, and unadulterated innovation to take over.
Feel like your divergent thinking has been on a permanent vacation? Summon it back home and start implementing the following techniques to see the future–and your company’s place in it–much differently.
1. Plot a pliable business plan.
Your mission doesn’t need to change, of course but solve problems. In fact, many businesses keep the same mission for decades. However, what the mission means in the context of the changing global economy will likely be far different a few years from now. To account for this and build a more flexible business plan, you’ll want to incorporate risk assessments and contingency plans in case a worst-case scenario presents itself. At the same time, evaluate the usefulness of different business models and revisit your strategy on a regular basis to see what’s working and what’s not.
2. Petition for diverse opinions.
The next time you face an obstacle, do yourself a favor and reconsider the voices at the table. Chances are you’ve been asking the same people to help you solve problems, and that leads to bias and blind spots. Before starting any project, you should bring in additional stakeholders to contribute to a wide variety of perspectives. Your willingness to hear other voices will illuminate new choices you and your usual meeting mates might never have imagined alone.
3. Pursue extracurricular studies.
Many founders get locked into their businesses, and over time, they start to lose perspective. As the saying goes, when all you have is a hammer, everything around you looks like a nail. The easiest way to break out of that kind of self-sabotaging rhythm is to learn something novel. Even if it’s not directly related to your industry, new knowledge builds divergent thinking synapses, increasing the likelihood of an “Aha!” moment in the future.
4. Practice opportunistic risk-taking.
Most entrepreneurially minded professionals don’t mind taking risks, but not all of those individuals have super-high risk profiles. Instead of always waiting until you’re 90% sure that an opportunity is worth pursuing, occasionally lower your standard to 70%–or less. Being a bit off-kilter can cause you to get more imaginative, especially because you want your risk to pan out.
You may not be ready to affix fruit to the conference room wall. That’s OK. But it’s a good idea to go a bit bananas occasionally by peeling yourself away from convergent thinking in favor of more divergent wellsprings.
Credits : Rhett Power , HR Global