Creative or “Wrong” Answers to Test Questions?

I got these amusing images in my email. You’ve probably seen them before too.

Have a look at the answers given to some test questions. The students were of course “not wrong”. Although they may have scored “zero” for a test on knowledge, I think they still scored top marks for creative and “not wrong” answers.

Looking from a different perspective, were they really “wrong”?.

I know what you are thinking: they were being tested for their knowledge and grasp of the subject, so they should have given the answers expected to prove it. I do not disagree with this, because they are in an institution to learn and a form of assessment is required from time to time to gauge their knowledge.

But on the other hand, the teacher should also encourage creative thinking. [Read more…]

Can a water bottle give us light? Using divergent thinking to create new ideas.

The catalyst to creative ideas is divergent thinking. This is opposite of linear thinking, which is our usual habit when facing a problem and thinking up solutions. By linear I mean thinking that A leads to B and to C and so on. Like thinking there is only one use for a paper clip for example, and we don’t consider other possibilities. Did you know how a paper clip could help one man obtain a new house? (More of this story here).

Divergent thinking makes you think up several possibilities from a single idea. To do this you need to broaden your view and hold back logic and assumptions. You need to consider ALL possibilities, no matter how remote, weird, wacky or crazy they may sound. This is the essence of what lateral thinking is all about, as coined by Ed De Bono.

“Thinking” is not a monopoly of a few: anyone can do it. Yeah it sounds like a cliché, but this is the only tool you need to start being more creative. [Read more…]