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How to Use Divergent Thinking for Problem Solving

February 15, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 166

Dealing with unexpected, complex problems is one of the most difficult tasks that a company can go through. Within any level of a corporation - a board of directors, a management team, supervisors dealing with the help desk - all planned strategies can just crumble when facing a problem that could not be foreseen. To revert the situation, they need to act quickly and, most of all, with creativity. Turn the problem into an opportunity. And, within the process of dealing with a problem creatively, one of the most useful tools available is the divergent thinking.

Divergent thinking is the process of finding out all possible associations and connections and to a given situation. It can be used on an artistic process, technical procedures, and even on business solutions with wonderful results. Instead of working your way with logic to find a solution, one uses its techniques to create a pool of ideas and, only after that, begins to select the most useful, profitable, economical or practical ones, with an analytical, logical process. It's important not to discourage the divergent thinking sessions by trying to choose ideas at the first moment. The idea here is to collect the most suggestions, no matter how silly or abstract they might seem at the first place.

So how exactly can you use these techniques?

Shatter the problem: even though the problem might seem like a big stone, whole, it can be broken down to pieces. Try to look at every aspect of the situation and find ideas separately for each one of them. You can write the problem as a proposition, separate it and put your mind to work just on a piece of the issue. If you have a team to work with, give each person a piece of the problem to work on, asking them to discover the most solutions they can think of to that specific piece of the problem.

Listen to everyone: try to get the most unusual people involved on finding the answer. By different, think of people with relations to the problem itself. People directly affected by the issue; people aware of the problem, but who work on a different branch; people from a different department; people who never heard about the problem before. All this helps to develop ideas from different perspectives and have a much richer supply of ideas to work on when the convergent, analytical part of the process begins.

Distort the problem: try changing the problem a little bit, thus changing the effects it creates. Imagine a slightly different problem and think about solutions to this new, invented one. This is a task that might also help to visualize other previously unseen aspects of the situation altogether.

By creating a divergent thinking group - sometimes called brainstorming group, even though brainstorm is just one of several methods of using divergent thinking techniques - and applying these techniques to sort out any problematic surprise, you'll have more possibilities to turn the situation around. More possibilities also mean faster action, which is vital to reduce the impact of any unseen problem.

Henrique Fogli is a generalist. He studied Marketing and Advertisement at University, finished, got bored and went for Literature. After that, he began to study music, and now he is up for drawing and acting - beginning his clown course. He also worked cleaning toilets, as a barman and a bank clerk, tried working with photography and being a civil servant. Today he is working with web content and, apart from other things, he's talking about inspiration and trying to sort out what is divergent thinking at

Source: EzineArticles
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