Design Thinking - Convergent


Convergent thinking is exactly opposite of what divergent thinking is. The term ‘Convergent Thinking’ was coined by Joy Paul Guilford in 1956. The concept of convergent thinking requires the design thinker to go through all the possible solutions thought during divergent thinking and come up with a correct solution. This convergence on a single solution or a mix of limited number of solutions is the essence of convergence thinking.

Convergent thinking is the type of thinking in which a thinker is generally supposed to come up with a single well-established best-possible solution to a problem. This step delivers the best and a concrete solution to a problem statement, taking into account all the factors and requirements specified in the problem statement.

Convergent thinking requires speed, accuracy, efficiency, logical reasoning, and techniques. A thinker is supposed to recognize the patterns, reapply a few techniques, and accumulate and organize the stored information.

Aspects of Convergent Thinking

The principle aspect of convergent thinking is that it should help us arrive at a singlebest answer without any room for ambiguity. The ideas thought of in the process of divergent thinking are either considered to be possible or impossible in convergent thinking phase.

Another important aspect of convergent thinking is that judgment is an important part of this process. Divergent thinking requires thinkers to suspend judgment. Convergent thinking encourages thinkers to apply the power of judgment.

Let’s look at the exercise of divergent thinking and start applying convergent thinking on it

We got the following ideas in the divergent thinking exercise.

  • Elimination of knowledge transfer program.

  • Having a single instructor for knowledge transfer program in a classroom session.

  • Preparing a document for knowledge transfer program.

  • Making it mandatory for employees to search for knowledge resources online.

  • Hiring only those employees who are experienced enough and who don’t need knowledge transfer.

Now, looking at the five ideas, it can be easily said that option 1 is not feasible. Every employee does not have an idea of a company’s tools and techniques and hence, cannot be expected to survive without knowledge transfer.

For the same reason, option 5 is also not acceptable. The best practices of a company are seldom known to new employees and taking an assumption about an employee’s knowledge level is a huge mistake. It is considered to be a good HR practice to have knowledge transfer session for new employees.

If we go by option 4, we are not assured of the pace at which learning will happen for the new employees. Each employee can take variable amount of time to grasp the concepts. The time taken to search materials online and read them is an overhead in itself and it cannot be monitored.

Hence, the two better options that remain are option 2 and option 3. However, one cannot correctly estimate the effectiveness of a document for knowledge transfer. It is similar to reading materials online. Hence, the best option available is to have an instructor teaching employees in a classroom program.

Although, the employees won’t get personal attention at times, yet by maintaining a fine balance between the strength of the batch and the length of class, this can be the best option to reduce cost and overhead. The reduction in the number of instructors will lead to less expenditure for DT and at the same time, the effectiveness of a paid instructor will remain, making the process of knowledge transfer as effective as before.

This is how convergent thinking comes into picture.