Leading modules


Module 5 “Can I solve problems?” – Creative problem solving

Unit 1 – What is Creative Problem Solving?
Divergent and convergent thinking

CPS asks you to separate your “divergent” and “convergent” thinking. What is the difference and why not using them simultaneously?

Divergent or creative thinking is the process of generating lots of potential solutions and possibilities, otherwise known as brainstorming. Convergent or critical thinking involves evaluating those options and choosing the most promising one.

When you solve a problem or develop new ideas, you normally use a combination of both. For the CPS process you should totally forget to think convergent when brainstorming and vice versa, when you analyse in a later step the ideas or solutions. Using them simultaneously can result in unbalanced or biased decisions and can hold back idea generation.

So, within the section of divergent or creative thinking you should concentrate on determining goals, explore possibilities and generate a lot of ideas. You should think as widely as possible and don’t think about why you can’t do something. You should include the obvious and the seemingly impossible without judging the ideas.

Within the convergent or critical thinking section you should review the ideas generated, cluster them and consider the question “How might we……?”. You can combine ideas, refine, reject, or select them, analyze options, and focus on the most potential ideas by using criteria to evaluate them. By asking questions like “Is this feasible? “, “Is there a sustainable market?”, “Does this respond to a need?” and so on.