Divergent thinking is an important type of thinking in
problem solving, and an important concept in psychology. It
can be viewed as a form of creative thinking. What is divergent
thinking? Below is one definition of divergent thinking:
Divergent Thinking Definition:
Divergent thinking can be described as unconventional
thinking in problem solving.
Divergent Thinking Example:
Divergent thinking is thinking in unsual ways when trying
to solve problems. There are many possible examples of
divergent thinking. I included an example of unconventional
thinking in my book, Finding Meaning (3rd. edition). Because
divergent thinking can be viewed as unconventional thinking,
the example from my book can also be viewed as an example of
Below is a description of a situation involving
unconventional thinking from my book, Finding Meaning (3rd.
At a professional meeting in 1993, I was standing by the railing on the second
floor of the building. I was looking down at the first floor when an important
piece of paper fell over the railing. It landed on a narrow ledge several feet
from the railing. I tried to reach it, but my arm was several inches too short.
I could not safely go over the railing and stand on this very narrow ledge.
Then, I perceived my program booklet in an unconventional way. It was
also a makeshift pair of pliers. I reasoned that I could put the booklet in my
hand and it would extend my reach by several inches. I could keep the booklet
slightly open so that I could use it to clamp down on the piece of paper. I
positioned the booklet in my hand so that the piece of paper could slide in
between the pages of the booklet. When I got the piece of paper wedged in
between the pages of the booklet, I clamped down on the paper. Using the
booklet like a pair of pliers, I had successfully retrieved the paper from the
ledge below. When I had succeeded in retrieving the paper, I heard people
clapping. Some of my colleagues on the first floor below had witnessed the
event. (Bell, 2007, pp. 12-13).
Bell, B. (2007). Finding Meaning (3rd ed.). Portland, Oregon:
Blue Fox Communications.