Example: Publishing an eye-catching book
Suppose that an author wants to bring out a hardcopy book that stands out from other publications and attracts attention in bookshops.
The question the author asks can be expressed as follows: ‘What should an eye-catching book look like?’
At one point in her divergent thinking the author develops a range of ideas about how she can achieve this:
1. Make the book particularly large.
2. Make the book particularly small.
3. Produce the book with a shiny cover.
4. Install LEDs in the cover.
5. Use a glossy light-reflecting cover.
6. Use a cover made of stone.
7. Use a cover made of wood.
8. Issue the book in circular form and insert it into a frisbee.
9. Issue the book on newsprint.
10. Publish the book with a towelling cover.
11. Sell the book as a rollable papyrus scroll.
And so on and so forth . . . .
There are now a few options on the table. In the following, separate stage of convergent thinking, the author selects those ideas that she wants to examine further and consider particularly promising.
She opts for ideas 8 and 11.
She then has to find out how a book in the form of a disk or papyrus roll can be printed.
One situation you’re certainly familiar with is the meeting at which one person makes a suggestion (divergent thinking) and someone else immediately counters with ‘yes, but . . .’ and explains why such and such an idea won’t work (convergent thinking). It shouldn’t happen this way but unfortunately this is how it usually ...