What is divergent thinking?

Divergent thinking, also known as linear thinking, is the skill or process of developing ideas or solutions to a problem through thinking. One can learn the craft, hone it, and perfect it as time progresses. It is a creative thinking process that helps one or a teams develop several ideas for a problem.

In many instances, it occurs spontaneously and in a free-flowing manner. The ideas are explored quickly, akin to following a line, thus the linear thinking name. As you think, you follow a line, and after finding one solution, you move along to find the next solution up to a certain determined point.

Advantages of Divergent Thinking

Divergent thinking is a crucial skill and aspect that has many advantages. Some of the major ones include

Helps Find the Best Alternative

Divergent thinking offers workplaces different solutions to a problem. With all the answers on the table, a business or individual can choose the top-most option in addressing the challenge.

Here, divergent thinkers look at all feasible solutions before settling on one that will bring in the best results.

Raises Team Morale

In creative thinking, some solutions get rejected, forcing the team to go back to the drawing board. This leads the teams to interact further, exchange more ideas, and think outside the box.

The result is a team that enthusiastically takes up the challenge and imagines more, thus creating a good team spirit and increasing productivity.

It Increases Adaptability

Any business faces challenges, and in such situations, managers and supervisors have to change plans to find an ideal option for the challenge. This reaction leads to proactive development while putting restrictive thinking to rest.

How to Practice Divergent Thinking

It is important to note that there should be a limit to the generation of solutions. Excessive divergent thinking leads to an avalanche of ideas with no end, thus not beneficial. In the eternal idea generation situation, convergent thinking is applied to help find a solution.

In divergent thinking, there is no judgment of whether a generated solution is effective or not while in the process. When one idea is gotten, it is used as a building block for the next. This block-building continues up to the point you feel the ideas are enough.

Some divergent thinking activities that help in idea generation include freewriting, journal keeping, and creating a list of questions. Other helpful activities are brainstorming mind maps, meditation, bubbles, and subject mapping.

Convergent thinking is the opposite of divergent thinking. It entails choosing the best idea from divergent thinking, thus helping differentiate the relevant from the irrelevant. It also helps remove ambiguity and gives a more precise direction.

Both styles of thinking are crucial to the solution-finding process. The divergent stage allows you to explore all possible solutions, while the concurrent step helps you find the best solution for your problem.


Divergent thinking is an essential aspect of solution-finding. To perfectly practice it, you have to set a limit of ideas to be generated and then combine it with convergent thinking, which will help pick the best solution.

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