Convergent and Divergent Thinking

Earlier this year I read “The Business Playground”Dave Stewart is a co authors of this book.

In a section about creative ideas they mentioned two concepts that I wasn’t familiar with.

They talked about divergent thinking and convergent thinking.

My basic understanding of these two concepts is this.

Convergent thinking is arriving at one correct solution for a problem.

Divergent thinking is arriving at many different possible solutions for a problem.

So the question to myself is, am I a convergent thinker or a divergent thinker?

After reading different thoughts and ideas on this subject I have come to this conclusion.

I am both.

You aren’t one of the other.  You just might be better at one or predisposed to use one type over the other.

With that being said I would have to say that convergent thinking is my stronger style.

Now coming to that conclusion bothered me because I also consider myself to be a creative person.  I play drums basically by ear and don’t follow charts.  I create every drum track I play.  I hear a song and come up with multiple ideas that would work.  That’s divergent thinking.

In business I am very good at utilizing and knowing all the resources that are available to me to solve a problem.  But when solving a problem in business I tend to approach it from the aspect of there is one correct course of action and I need to find it.

I am a numbers guy.  I like to look at the numbers to help me find that one answer that I am looking for.  Sometimes I tend to try to find it within the normal conventions.

Now my wife is a divergent thinker.

Nothing is very conventional with her when it comes to problem solving.  She doesn’t have to think outside the box, she never gets in the box.

We have an odd shaped plot in our yard for a small vegetable garden.  It’s almost half of an oval.

Living in the country we have issues with wildlife bothering the plants but it’s not too bad.

At one point we put up some cheap store bought fencing but didn’t like how it looked.  So for some reason we decided to challenge each other to see who could make the best fence.

The results speak volumes about who we are and how we think.

We never stated what materials you had to use.  There were no rules, just build a fence on your half and I’ll build a fence on my half.

What was remarkable about the outcome is each fence couldn’t have described each of us any better.  And more remarkable is we both used exactly the same materials.

Look at my convergent thinking fence.


Look at my wife’s divergent thinking fence.


Here they are together.


Need I say more!

I think the fact that we use the same material shows how we stayed together 36 years.

Inside we have the exact same core values and together we make some real art in our life.

© Otis P Smith and About the Groove, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Otis P Smith and About the Groove with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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