The need for creative thinking today

There is a definite need for creative thinking these days. Why? We live in a world where the previous rules and structures are no longer applicable. Answers that worked before are irrelevant because circumstances are changing continuously. More creativity and originality is required. There is a greater need for co-operation and collaboration as there are too many variables to consider.

Furthermore, we often have little control over circumstances. It is less easy these days to predict outcomes.

What the world needs now

So what we need is:

  • Exploring because exploration allows for possibilities. Somehow when we make judgments we no longer are open for further re-examination. Using judgement somehow makes it hard to be creative. We need an openness and freer way of finding solutions in an ever changing world.
  • Design instead of analysis. Analysis has become entrenched in the West instead of focussing more on design. We are in a period of development where we need to design alternative ways of looking at things.
  • Finding new ideas. How does this happen? We need to start with a vague idea or some kind of hypothesis. This will then allow us to open ourselves up to think more freely.
  • Flexibility in our way of thinking, as opposed to making judgments or staying stuck in certain viewpoints. We need to be open to “what may be” or “what is possible”.
  • We need to develop an ability to be open to new ways of being and operating. We need to be more fluid in our responses. The world is changing rapidly so we need to think more proactively of how to respond. We now need a more radical and experimental way of thinking than in the past.

Myths about Thinking

In a paper by Raghunathan, he writes that there are a lot of myths about thinking.

Myth 1: The present education system develops and improves thinking. So the more educated you are the better thinking you possess.

Fact: Actually, education suppresses free thinking. The focus is often to regurgitate facts and information. Creative thinking has almost no place in current education.

Moreover, education destroys creative thinking abilities. This is because it over-emphases logical thinking and critical thinking. These are generally considered to be lower levels of thinking.

Students are expected to be correct and successful all the time. Ironically then, the highly educated person ends up having a poorer ability to think creatively. This is despite them knowing a lot or having access to a lot of information.

Myth 2: Less educated or uneducated people can never become good thinkers.

Fact: Actually, less educated people have a greater ability to think creatively. Why? Because they do not have an inflated ego that demands 100 percent correct answers or success in everything they do.

Again, they may not have all the book or theoretical knowledge. As a result they are forced to explore and experiment. Through experience they figure problems out for themselves. This enables them to find original and creative solutions.

Myth 3: IQ and thinking ability are the same. People who have high IQs, are better thinkers. Vice versa, those who have a lower IQ have only low thinking abilities.

Fact: It is true that those who have greater thinking ability, as a rule, have a high IQ. But, this does not mean that all those who have a high IQ are good thinkers!

Usually high IQ people use their thinking skills for logical thinking, arguments, critical thinking. They seldom use creative thinking. High IQ then becomes a hindrance to creative thinking. Research shows that people who have an average IQ can become better thinkers.

Myth 4: Thinking ability, decision-making ability and problem solving ability is inborn. Therefore there is very little we can do to develop these.

Fact: This is one of the most inaccurate beliefs about thinking. In fact, Dr. Edward de Bono (and also many others) have proven that thinking is a skill that can be enhanced through training and practice. The reality is that decision making, problem solving and creative thinking can be developed and improved.

Myth 5: The education system teaches us to think.

Fact: Currently education is mainly passive and learning things by heart. Therefore this approach fails to develop our thinking skills. Knowledge is not enough. We need to learn how to develop our brains effectively. Thinking is an active not a passive process.

What are you doing to develop your thinking ability? Explore coaching to help develop this skill as it is a critical skill for the future.


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Posted in Business, Decision making.