CONVERGENT THINKING IN CPS
ABOUT DIVERGENT & CONVERGENT THINKING: WHY BOTH?
One key - perhaps the key - to the Creative
Problem Solving process is the use of both divergent
and convergent thinking.
Divergent thinking is wide and free. When you diverge,
you generate many options. Divergent thinking is followed
by convergent thinking, in which you assess, judge,
and strengthen those options, and then decide what
to keep and how to proceed.
CPS requires both divergent and convergent thinking,
but not at the same time. Trying to do both at once is
a mess. If you've ever been in a meeting where people
are generating ideas, and shooting them down at the same
time, you understand why we need to keep these two thinking
CONVERGENT THINKING GUIDELINES
Whenever you think convergently, follow these guidelines
for best results:
- Be affirmative
- Be deliberate
- Check the objectives
- Improve ideas
- Consider novelty
A trained CPS facilitator can
help you and your group to use these guidelines, and
the convergent thinking tools, to their best advantage.
CONVERGENT THINKING TOOLS
There are many convergent thinking tools in the universe. CPS is tools agnostic, so any tool you like for convergent thinking (making choices) is likely to work just fine. Below
are very brief descriptions of some of the tools
we use for convergent thinking.
A quick way to identify the options that stand out. Method:
use sticky dots or a pen to mark ("hit") the most interesting,
innovative, intriguing, compelling, etc.
A way to grouping like items together, and to remove duplication.
Method: after marking hits, group similar or related
items together, maximum three per group.
Captures the essence of a cluster. Method: For each cluster,
try to capture the cluster as one statement. Caution:
do not simplify such that you lose the interesting and
novel aspects of the individual ideas.
four-step approach to evaluating an option, idea, solution,
etc. "POINt" is an acronym for Pluses, Opportunities,
Issues, and New thinking. Method: make a list of the
pluses, then of the opportunities (potentials), then
the issues (concerns, expressed as problem statements),
and finally new thinking on how to overcome the issues.
A way to rank or prioritize when you have many promising
options. Method (assuming six options): with each option
on a separate card or slip of paper, mark a 6 on your
least favorite, and set it aside; of the remaining options,
mark a 1 on your favorite, and set it aside; of the remaining
options, mark a 5 on your least favorite, and set it
aside; continue, marking an item 2, then 4, then 3. This
does not make a selection, but does provide a priority
or rank. This can also be done with a group, by adding
up each person's rank for each item, to know how the
group at large prioritizes the options.
Uses a grid to evaluate options against criteria. Method:
on a grid (matrix), list criteria along the top (one
per column), and options down the left side (one
per row. Select a rating scale (e.g., 1-5, A-B-C,
etc.). Then, rate each option against each criteria.
Paired Comparison Analysis
Compares each option against each other option. On a grid,
list all options across the top (one per column) and down
the left (one per row). Select a rating scale (e.g.,
1 = slightly prefer, 2 = moderately prefer, and 3 = greatly
prefer), compare each item against each other. Total
the scores for each item.
Here are some choices:
CONTACT US WHEN YOU ARE READY
When you're ready to
talk to us about teaching you this process or facilitating
a problem-solving session, just holler.