Divergent and Convergent Thinking

“The process of the design thinker, rather, looks like a rhythmic exchange between the divergence and convergent phases, with each subsequent iteration less broad and more detailed than the previous ones.”

This sentence makes a heck of a lot more sense when you read it in the book, which I would recommend. This is on page 66.

Divergent thinking = creating choices.

Convergent thinking = making choices.

Design thinking requires both. And as Brown explains, we often need to go back and forth between the two, honing in on the final idea as we do so.

There are two good quotes in the book about this process.

Divergent thinking: “To have a good idea, you must first have lots of ideas.” Linus Pauling (Nobel Prize winner for chemistry and winner of the Nobel Peace prize).

Convergent thinking: William Faulkner on the most difficult part of writing: “Killing off your little darlings.”

Ask yourself or your team “are we trying to create choices or make choices?” Sometimes the answer is a little complex, but having this discussion gets everyone on the same page.