Why organizations need divergent thinkers?

Creativity is undoubtedly an asset in the workplace, not only just for individuals but also for organizations. It’s positively correlated with job performance, career satisfaction and leadership potential. In fact, on average, creative people have even been found to get a leg up in the dating pool.

Ever since J.P Guilford and Paul Torrance pioneered the studies in 1950s, one’s creative potentials have been associated with Divergent Thinking abilities — the process or method used to create many unique ideas in order to solve a problem. Where convergent thinking is systematic and logical, divergent thinking is spontaneous and free-flowing.

Are divergent thinkers valuable for their organization?

The short answer is — it depends. No human quality is universally beneficial, and even a trait as appealing as divergent thinking can have its downsides, particularly in certain work contexts where following certain instruction is crucial.

Divergent thinkers tend to find new opportunities, look for new solutions, are more customer driven, easier to train and tend to have a broader outlook.

Divergent thinkers bring new solutions to new challenges: In today’s highly competitive landscape, companies need to be active and stay ahead of their customers’ need to win their confidence. Moreover with the rise in demand from the customers, organizations need to innovate and develop new solutions to complex problems. A simple way to deal with this problem is to hire divergent thinkers who can think outside the box and suggest better solutions. By hiring divergent thinkers, companies across industries can find solutions to difficult problems.

Divergent thinkers find new opportunities: By thinking differently, divergent thinkers find new opportunities for their organization. In doing so, they exceed expectations and take up jobs with greater passion. For most companies today, the biggest challenge is to identify the right opportunities and leverage them for good returns. Divergent thinkers can be a great asset to address this challenge and explore potential areas of growth.

Divergent thinkers are customer-focused and ask questions before customers do:For most managers, a big challenge is to elicit honest response from their team members. Even if the team members are honest in their assessment, it is not uncommon to find people who do not spend too much time on thinking and minutely evaluating everything. With divergent thinkers on board, managers can see a paradigm shift in how the process works and the way in which they share their thoughts. Divergent thinkers think from different perspectives and ask questions that can be quite pertinent from a customer’s point of view. Answering those questions is important to satisfy customers and grow business.

Divergent thinkers have a broader outlook and approach: Unlike analytical thinkers who have a set way of doing things, analyzing situations and arriving at conclusions, divergent thinkers have a broader approach. No two divergent thinkers will react to a situation in the same way. Therefore, their approaches will be different from one another. Different approaches bring new solutions to problems and enable organizations to respond to challenging situations. Moreover, their creative bent of mind can open up several unobserved issues and opportunities for the organization to look into.

Divergent thinkers are enthusiastic learners: With the business scenario becoming more dynamic, there is no room for rigidity. Companies need flexible employees who have the enthusiasm to take up new challenges and explore different opportunities. Divergent thinkers respond well to change. They do not shudder when they have to try something different, which can be a great boost for an organization that wants to manage costs and build leaders from within its workforce.

With advancements in technology, we are seeing the rise of divergent thinking assessments and its incorporation within the organizations’ recruiting and training processes.

In order to accurately measure one’s divergent thinking abilities, one must be given a set of open-ended stimuli, scenarios and exercises. Furthermore, the responses must be graded efficiently for a large group of participants. One of the well-researched and well-known assessments is SparcIt’s Creative Thinking assessment. Unlike traditional assessment, SparcIt’s unique feature is the use of open-ended exercises and automated scoring. Using a Watson-like engine, SparcIt’s patent-pending engine, accurately and efficiently grades the participants’ responses and provide a detailed report to the participants and the test administrators. Hence, it eliminates the major factors for not using such assessments.

SparcIt’s Creative Thinking assessment is fun, fast, automated, affordable and scalable.