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Divergent Thinking Exercise

For the next step in the Design Thinking Process exercise, we will use divergent thinking to come up with ideas. First, choose the problem you wish to focus on.
© Torrens University

For the next step in the Design Thinking Process exercise, we will use divergent thinking to come up with ideas. First, choose the problem you wish to focus on.

Problems montage

How to Ideate

We will use a rapid-ideation technique that helps to build divergent thinking skills.

  1. Grab a pen and paper and set a timer on your phone for 5 minutes.
  2. Write 20 ideas that could address your chosen problem.

The less time you have to doubt yourself the better so put all the ideas down that come to your head instantly – it might surprise you what comes out!

Observe your Monkey Brain

Your ‘monkey brain’ will tell you to hurry or that your first idea is good enough. It will get distracted by that notification light on your phone or the conversation of people near you. It loves instant rewards and will do anything to get them, but just observe it, recognise it’s there and keep moving forward.

Baby monkey

Divergent Thinking

It’s okay if your ideas are a little all over the place and you feel uncomfortable not knowing where you are heading. Divergent thinking is chaotic, run with it.

Many hands touch messy table

The Pro’s of Procrastination

Procrastination aids in the creative thinking process by allowing the space to learn something new. Even when you are not actively working on a design you have it sitting in the back of your mind and when you learn new things, your subconscious builds up a knowledge bank to further aid in solving that specific problem.

Woman at computer stares out window

Creative Ideation

Ideation is a fluid and re-iterative stage. It’s important to maintain a ‘blue-sky thinking’ approach at first, but keep in mind that not all ideas will be worth building on and nor should they be. The ideas we don’t act on are just as important as the ones we do. Continue to come back to the problem at hand and the research previously undertaken and think of them as a frame around your ideas. This will help determine what ideas stay and what ideas go.


Additional Resources

Convergent Thinking Versus Divergent Thinking. (2019, February 18). Retrieved from

“Want to learn better? Start mind mapping* Hazel Wagner TEDxNaperville. Retrieved from

Creativity is nothing, but a mind set free.
Torrie T. Asai – Lettering Designer
© Torrens University
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