Convergent Thinking

Convergent thinking is a creative mode of thinking that analyzes, filters, and focuses ideas to make decisions.

Convergent thinking involves grouping and sorting ideas generated through divergent thinking to reveal themes and evaluate concepts through techniques like affinity diagrams. It’s possible and encouraged to move between both convergent and divergent thinking. If you are trying to converge on a solution but don’t feel you have enough information, it might be time to return to a divergent mode of thinking and gather more data before moving forward.

Many design methodologies explicitly define stages where convergent thinking is the focus. For example, in the double diamond diagram, the “Define” stage focuses on convergent strategy, or sorting and analyzing information gathered during discovery, and the “Deliver” stage focuses on convergent execution, or developing and delivering a solution.

The Double Diamond diagram: two diamonds side-by-side, broken down into Strategy (Discover and Define) and Execution (Develop and Deliver) phases, moving from problem to solution.

More information can be found in the Interaction Design Foundation’s convergent thinking definition.

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