Quantity Over Quality: Divergent Thinking in the Workplace

Employees are usually instructed to put their best foot forward in the workplace. Aside from some artistic callings, most individuals feel pressure to present their most polished proposals and pieces; however, this thinking may lead to a stagnant work environment.

Not only does this perfectionist mindset stifle creativity, but it also leads to mental anguish. Indeed, most people are raised believing a problem has a single, correct solution. While this may be the case in math class, it isn’t the case in the world at large. As a matter of fact, this type of thinking often stifles productivity and leads to narrow-mindedness.

The solution to this limited thinking is found in divergent thought. Divergent thinking encourages ideas in a multitude of directions and encourages absolute openness.

Here are a few ways divergent thought may be encouraged in an office.

Encourage Ideas

Staff are highly unlikely to share ideas if they do not trust that they will be accepted for doing so. Indeed, many ideas sound ludicrous at first, and it may take a great deal of bravery to volunteer them. Even if a manager encourages staff to produce ideas they may still feel hesitant to look foolish in front of their colleagues. In that case, managers ought to produce a diverse number of ideas themselves. Staff may feel more inclined to speak up after watching their leaders do so.

Move Around and Play Music

Studies convey that walking actually encourages divergent thought, and so does art. Actually, it isn’t hard to fathom that painting and music encourage this type of expansive thinking. Indeed, these artistic pursuits encourage open thinking, and therefore follow the same pattern as divergent thought. Taking some time to draw, listen to music or simply go for a walk are all
fantastic ways to encourage creative thought. Having a stretch and stepping outside are great ways to get oxygen to the brain, but walking around is even better for facilitating this process.

Promote a Culture of Honesty

Simply admitting when something isn’t working, or when another idea might work better, promotes divergent thought. People are often afraid of admitting the way that they do things may not be the best, and they don’t second-guess themselves. Moreover, new hires may see senior staff making errors and feel hesitant to correct them or voice their opinions. The whole team flourishes when a culture of honesty, and in turn responsibility, is promoted.