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Children lose creativity as they grow, despite the fact that creative expression can be fun, motivating and help solve challenging problems. Many children don't recognise or appreciate to acknowledge problems as challenges, which they can solve. Most of the time they are reluctant to explore possible solutions.

Perhaps they find it difficult to look for solutions and tackle something in a unique or original way. This lack of confidence might impact their decision making, as they will not invest time, effort or patience that is required to explore for solutions. Children could be worried or nervous about uncharted routes. Therefore they may prefer to play it safe, or to take a path of less resistance.

Hence they may choose not to tap their ability to proactively solving problems. (And, yes, ability to proactively solve problems is a choice. Children decide whether or not to engage in activities, including discovery, imaginative play, inquiry, and brainstorming.)

Joy Paul Guilford, an American psychologist, coined the term "convergent production and divergent production". Let's understand these abilities of solving problems:

  • Convergent production is the ability to deduce a single solution to a problem by following a rule
  • Divergent production is the ability to generate multiple solutions to a problem in a creative and innovative way.
Both Convergent and Divergent production are essential in our lives. Both methods of solving problems are neither more superior as compared to the each other.

We require these methods for us to do well in various tasks, we often need to use these opposite mental processes in conjunction. When faced with a problem, we need to explore differing options (divergence). Afterwards, we narrow down our choices and decide on the "best" solution (convergence).

What is Convergent Production?

It refers to figuring out a certain established solution to a problem. This is often employed in structured assessments such as multiple-choice items, identification, and arithmetic problems.

The characteristics of convergent thinking comprise the following:

  • Fast - as compared to divergent thinking, convergent thinking focuses more on speed as it aims to verify the most direct and efficient answer in a shorter period of time
  • Precise- an accurate answer is derived after the process. This means that a certain concept may either be right or wrong
  • Logical - a linear method is used and rational steps are taken to figure out the correct solution

What is Divergent Production?

Divergent production is our ability to explore several solutions to a certain problem.

The characteristics of divergent thinking involve the following:

  • Ability to instinctively generate Ideas
  • Free-flowing - although an answer has been found, the possibility of finding other answers is still considered
  • Complex - concepts are multi-layered and involve numerous standpoints

Summary points on Divergent and Convergent Production

  • Both divergent and convergent production are essential in problem solving
  • Divergent production leaves room for ambiguity while convergent production strongly focuses on the exact answer
  • Divergence considers a number of ideas whereas convergence seeks the best idea. Thus, quantity vs quality
  • Divergent production involves artistry which is associated with the right brain while convergent production encompasses logical reasoning which employs the left brain
  • Divergent production is a longer process as compared to convergent production

Divergent Production

Seeks various solutions
Generates new ideas

Used in specifying options
Presents more complicated facets

Welcomes risk-taking
Covers massive and multi-layered concepts
Associated with positive mood
Mainly involves the right brain
Favours quantity over quality
Process usually takes a longer time

Convergent Production

Focuses on a single answer
Reuses previous information

Efficient in decision making
Mainly concerned with an exact viewpoint

Focuses on less-ambiguous answers
Aims to identify the most efficient concept
Associated with a cynical mood
Generally, it stimulates the left brain
Favours quality over quantity
Process generally takes a shorter time


Dr. Mary Meeker - Founder of SOI Systems, has designed a program to provide youngsters with an opportunity to break away from conventional restrictions on their thinking. Each activity in the program is designed to promote one or more abilities. The activities are also classified according to (1) the types of information involved in each exercise (figural, symbolic, semantic) and (2) the ways that information is organized in each exercise (units, classes, relations, systems, transformations and implications.

We focus on the abilities needed for successful learning. Our goal is to develop the lifelong learning abilities that you need to in order to be successful in school, your career, and life in general. The SOI process is simple: assess, identify, and train. We have testing and training materials available for ages five to adult.

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Ambereen Pradhan

Founder Director | Psychologist | Associate SOI Practitioner - ENERGIA SOI

"Teach children what to think and limit them to your ideas. Teach children how to think and their ideas are unlimited."