In the process of brainstorming a solution to a problem, it is undeniable that both critical thinking and creativity are necessary and complementary. In many ways, creative thinking can be considered divergent thinking. It is the process by which we generate new ideas, imagine possibilities, and find relationships among seemingly unrelated concepts. Therefore, Critical Thinking would be the convergent process where we narrow down which of those new ideas will work best given realistic constraints and resources.
It is no surprise that research has established a positive correlation between critical thinking and creativity (between .25 and .30) and the combination of critical thinking and creative thinking is considered “good thinking.”
However, it is possible to have stronger skills in one style of thinking over another. So, if you could only choose one, which would you choose? Would you rather be known as a critical thinker or a creative thinker? Better yet, if you had to hire a new employee, which would you choose:
- The Critical Thinker who scores extremely well in critical thinking assessments, but lacks the creativity to generate new ideas and productively brainstorm, or
- The Creative Thinker who is know for her originality and flexibility, but lacks the ability to reason and analyze which ideas will be successful/well-received.
Which do you feel would be easier to train? Which skill is more important for overall success?
Which employee would you hire?
Editor’s Note: Breanne Harris is the Solutions Architect for Pearson TalentLens. She works with customers to design selection and development plans that incorporate critical thinking assessments and training. She has a Master’s degree in Organizational Psychology and has experience in recruiting, training, and HR consulting. She is the chief blogger for Critical Thinkers and occasionally posts at ThinkWatson. Connect with her on LinkedIn and Twitter for more of her thoughts.