Convergent Thinking

The process of figuring out a concrete solution to any problem is called Convergent Thinking. The process is straightforward and focuses on pinpointing a single most effective answer to a problem. Figuring out the solution to a problem is its only goal, and emphasizes on

  • Speed
  • Accuracy
  • Logic


Convergent thinking doesn’t always involve seeking out new procedures to solve the problem; rather it focuses on finding the best solution for a problem by hook or crook. Methods involved in convergent thinking also involve recognizing the previously tried out techniques and reapplying them along with the readily stored information. This method of checking out the archives is most effective when the situation is pre-existent, and the solution only needs to be worked out through decision making strategies.

Convergent thinking is the tool, also used in creative problem solving. The process is linked to knowledge, as manipulation of existing knowledge through various standard procedures is what leads to the formation of solutions. Knowledge, being the source of ideas, creates a map for solutions and separates criteria of uniqueness and efficiency. Thus, knowledge is an important aspect of creativity.

Relation with Divergent Thinking

Divergent thinking takes place in a free-flowing manner and is spontaneous, which results in multiple possible solutions in short amount of time. This procedure is unorganized and yields unexpected connections. The information and ideas obtained as a result of divergent thinking can be structured using convergent thinking to produce a single most effective answer.

For instance, processes like brainstorming, creative thinking and free writing are parts of divergent thinking applied at the beginning of a problem solving process. Various solutions produced by the method can be used to sort out the best possible answer thereafter. Most popular techniques used in convergent thinking are knowledge, probabilities, logic, decision making strategies, and answers evaluated from multiple techniques are individually analyzed to figure out the best possible solution.

Examples

1. Variety of tests, such as multiple choice tests, standardized tests, quizzes, spelling tests and similar other tests require convergent thinking, because only one answer can be 100% correct.

2. A slightly extreme example would be: A person is either sick or healthy. Or, a medical student can be either a doctor or nothing.  

Advantages

  • Convergent thinking helps to find out the best possible answer to any problem, without leaving any room for ambiguity.
  • The solutions derived by using convergent thinking process are the most accurate ones most of the time.

Disadvantages

  • The answer procured by such type of thinking is either completely right or 100% wrong, which might not always be the best possible way to go about. For instance, a convergent thinker might either consider himself as sick or healthy with no in-betweens.
  • It doesn't consider minority arguments.