Divergent vs convergent thinking

Can you think out of box? If you ever said to “yourself why didn’t I think of that before”? Have you ever tried hard in coming up with a creative solution, and ending up saying “why didn’t I think of that? No worries here is a solution. Traditionally, we are not taught to think laterally. You are just two steps away from changing the way you think.



Thinking moves away from the core subject and get all possible outputs. Richard Fry, Brigham Young University Divergence can be defined by the ability to “generate many, or more complex or complicated, ideas from one idea or from simple ideas or triggers”.  It is aimed at “‘discovering’ problems and looking for solutions by means of branching out, making unexpected associations, applying the known in unusual ways, seeing unexpected implications”  

 Divergent thinking is one of the stereotypes of creativity as a whole.  In order to become “creative”, emphasis is placed on a person developing and adopting a more divergent process and developing personal characteristics such as openness, tolerance for ambiguity, and willingness to take risks.  The additional characteristics of curiosity, courage of ones convictions, openness, flexibility, and nonconformity are also seen as being fundamental to creativity.

We are the creature of our habits. Thinking in the same way as we thought the previous day!  Mathematician express himself with equation, artist express himself with picture, engineer with his models. Let’s see how we actually think and take decision? Let suppose left side of brain, belief b1 b2. Other side of brain evidence e1 e2 e3. If we compare both side belief and evidence. B1 refers to e1, b2 refers to e2. Naturally tendency while we think or make decision is to gather only evidence that supports our existing beliefs and reject evidence that conflicts our beliefs. In this case if a problem has 3 evidence. We tend to pic only e1 e2 based on belief b1 b2 and reject e3 even though e3 is the right solution. Shown in a figure


Divergent thinking pattern

List all assumptions that applies to the problem. Deliberate and try and break the assumption

Ask more of basic questions in order to challenge the assumptions.

Ask what if question “What if I” “why not”

Think out of box and restate the problem in a completely different expressions.

Think visually, Fantasy



Thinking helps to get to the right output by focusing rapidly on target and narrow down our option. Richard Fry, Brigham Young University Convergence is commonly defined as “the ability to use logical and evaluative thinking to critique and narrow ideas to ones best suited for given situations, or set criteria.” 6 It is focused on finding the “single, best, ‘correct’ answer to a standard problem in the shortest time.”7  It emphasizes the personal characteristics of speed, accuracy, logic, and focuses on accumulating information, recognizing the familiar, reapplying set techniques, and preserving the already known.8



When asked “What does an engineer do?” one company web-site stated “engineers find solutions.” 9 They then provided a list of problems that an engineer finds answers to.  This list included:

  • How can we make a glass building stand 1,776 feet tall?
  • How can we make a cell phone take a picture?

 These are very well defined problems that can be solved through a predominantly convergent process.   Convergence is at the core of the engineering process.