The Urge to Diverge

During the Houston Company of Friends coordination team retreat earlier this month, the group’s leaders spent some time developing convergent and divergent ideas for future activities and projects. Basically, divergent thinking stimulates new thinking by diversifying and exploring various options, and convergent thinking refines and chooses the best possibilities. In today’s edition of the InnovationNetwork‘s email newsletter, the editors outline five basic action principles of divergent thinking:

  • Suppose Putting yourself in imaginary situations switches on new ways of thinking. Suppose you could smash all the assumptions around this issue?
  • Wander Wandering through new territory with an open mind vacuums up new connections and linkages. For instance, you can wander through hardware or antique stores, new magazines or conferences, random images, or analogies from nature.
  • Associate Deliberately create new linkages between objects, ideas, events, people, or processes. As you link things together that normally are not connected, you begin to see new relationships and new possibilities.
  • Morph Change various aspects of the situation, make the
    familiar strange and the strange familiar.
  • Inquire Questions create openings. Finding those great questions that open minds is a learned skill based on some simple principles and practice.