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…]