Do you see how one thing these two thinkers have in common about explaining divergent thinking involves school? With that in mind, let’s leave behind your school brain and enjoy this moment to foster a new cognitive skill that helps with creative problem solving. So we will add another step of divergent thinking so that you might incorporate this cognitive skill and develop creative disposition more deeply in your thinking. Interestingly, this type of thinking may help you navigate the college process as well as your future challenges in your college courses and future careers.
While we had fun viewing Sir Ken Robinson for homework along with this short video from Guy Claxton. Now select another video from one of these thinkers (or view both) and reflect on a specific moment in a movie, show, book, or drama where a character exhibits divergent thinking. In 5-7 sentences of Standard English, locate quickly the character’s personality and situation in the work and explain how one scene captures this “out of the blue” (Claxton) that enables the character to move forward with this new idea, new thought process, or new mindset. This is an opinion-based prompt that simply requires you to support your creative claim with support from your selected text. By all means include any links if they will help the general reader.
I hope you enjoy this hook portion of the video that sets up his thesis for finding a way to help students develop the most important capability in their life: the ability to learn for yourself. The ability to cope calmly, creativity, confidently, and capably with challenges and frustrations [in the learning process].
Likewise, Sir Ken Robinson helps us expand our culture’s narrow definition of creativity. Let’s us then explore that value of your original ideas in several of these assessments. Later on we will go back to the drawing board and have you brainstorm your topic. In the meantime throw yourself into this exploration of divergent thinking and realize that we are never going to emphasize product over process in this class. This long conversation has been about giving you an opportunity to practice these thinking and creativity skills. As a facilitator of the creative process, I will meet every student wherever they are in the process and help them move forward by individual mentoring as well as by creating a collaborative and iterative culture that helps fosters growth for everyone.
One example of divergent thinking is in Legally Blonde when Elle Woods uses a dance technique called “The Bend and Snap” to prove that a witness is lying on the stand in the court room. It is through this dance that she is able to determine that the witness could not be telling the truth about his affair with the defendant because he is gay. Many people on her legal team discredit her tactic and do not think it is a good strategy to prove the defendant’s innocence. Elle ignores this and uses her divergent thinking to ultimately succeed in this task.
We think the Bend and Snap is an excellent example of divergent thinking. Not only did Elle come up with this idea spontaneously and naturally, but she also used this dance move from a part of her life not typically associated with being a lawyer. Using the Bend and Snap from her sorority, she melds both aspects of her life into one and does it successfully. Furthermore, she never sacrificed the trust of the client, making her a great lawyer.
In the TV show “Criminal Minds,” Special Agent Dr. Spencer Reid is the youngest member of the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit (B.A.U.). He is a genius with a photographic memory and an IQ of 187, always solving the apparently impossible problems. However, in a specific episode, Reid interrogates a criminal and cannot figure out the answer to her mind game. Becoming frustrated, Reid storms out of the room and another special agent in the B.A.U. unit, Jennifer Jareau, attempts to allay his anger as a concerned friend. In discussing her opinions and trying to calm Reid, Jareau finally figures out the answer to the prisoner’s game. Although she is not as logically intelligent as Reid, she thinks divergently, deciphering the solution when she was not actively trying to deduce it. This episode reveals how divergent thinking is sometimes more effective than thinking logically.
In this clip from “Skyfall”, James Bond is assisting Q in attempting to hack into the computer system of his enemy, Silva. He outsmarts the polymorphic engine, or so he thinks when he realizes he was baited into a trap. Even though he is one step behind his enemy, he instantly realizes what has happened and goes straight to Silva’s prison cell which he knows to most likely be empty. Whereas Q is only a minute behind Bond in realizing he has been hacked, it is that one minute that is critical for Bond to be able to eventually catch up to Silva and save M. Throughout the film Bond is portrayed as a divergent thinker, but this one clip perfectly sums up how Bond, even when he is outsmarted, cannot be matched by his quick thinking and advanced intellect.
In the popular 80s television show MacGyver, the main character Angus MacGyver is a government field agent unlike any other. He is known for solving complex problems on the spot under pressure with everyday materials such as a swiss army knife or whatever he has in his pocket. There is an famous moment in the very first episode of the show where MacGyver is with the military and he needs to defuse a bomb. After initially setting a 30 second timer off on the bomb, MacGyver goes through all his bomb-defusing tools which don’t work. He then at the last second, takes out a paper clip he had and bends it in a way then defuses the bomb with 1 second left on the timer with it. The character MacGyver is known for being a divergent thinker, and this moment proves it. He throughout the show proves how effective it can be to be able to think on the spot and to use what is around you to solve a problem.
Aiden, great example. Justin and I are totally with you on this one. I love referencing MacGyver because he is a classic example of a divergent thinker. The MacGyver mindset is one we should all adapt.
My mom often tells me to “MacGyver it”, when something needs fixing. 🙂
In the 2014 film adaptation of Lois Lowry’s “The Giver”, there is a scene where Jonas, the main character, experiences music for the first time in his dystopian society. Throughout the novel and movie, nobody except the Giver and Jonas are allowed to experience creativity, but when Jonas discovers the ability to think and feel emotions beyond his society’s limitations, his life is changed forever. The creativity in music, color, and emotion is all new to Jonas, as the Giver says, “Just like music, there’s something else you can’t see with your eyes. Something that’s deep inside you… Something this world takes away from you.” Divergent thinking is the ability to transform new information and insights about the world, and everybody, like Jonas, has this ability, even if external factors initially prevent it. After experiencing all the memories and insights the Giver has to offer, Jonas then makes a plan to release everything that society has kept from the individual. Therefore, not only the thought process that we undergo, but creation and the sharing of ideas with others creates the ultimate divergent thinking experience.
Adam Savage and Jaime Hyneman, best known as co-hosts of the television series MythBusters, exhibit profound divergent thinking, especially when talking to each other. In an interview for Gilette’s 2013 ad campaign, titled “How Does He Shave?”, Adam and Jaime build off of each other’s ideas to ask the question: how would the man of steel shave? The duo’s banter shows off their divergent thinking abilities as they push on each other’s ideas, evolving their thinking through the conversation almost instantaneously. In the interview, Adam first suggests that superman flies very close to the earth, using friction to shave. Jamie builds off of this by suggesting the similarity to sandpaper and then cautioning the danger of speed bumps that could ruin the shave. By bouncing their ideas off of each other, the pair enhance their ability to think creatively, thus improving their divergent thinking.
Nick, Vartika, and I thought that Nick’s comment was really interesting. Many people chose literature and pop culture examples, but Nick had a more scientific approach. The Mythbusters are a pair that cooperate together in order to facilitate divergent thinking and create entertainment for us to enjoy.
In the movie “Thor: Ragnarok”, Hela threatens to destroy Asgard. Despite the best efforts of those who oppose her, Hela almost manages to achieve her goals. Realizing that his strength is not enough to defeat Hela, Thor must formulate another plan. Although his initial goal was to stop the destruction of Asgard, he realizes that the only way to protect his people is to go against that plan. Thor thinks outside the box and unleashes Sutr, a being who will destroy Asgard and Hela, who is trapped on it after the Asgardians escape. This willingness to go against conventional wisdom demonstrates Thor’s divergent thinking. His thought process shows how he can turn an initial fear- the destruction of Asgard- into a strength to achieve his goals.
We would like to nominate the third installment in the Thor franchise because it shows a key development in Thor’s character as well as a unique plan formulated by divergent thinking.
Arguably the most divergent thinking a person can do is to go against the people for whom they represent. Like John said, Thor acts divergently by allowing the destruction of his home, a decision he knows will eventually be in the best interest of his people. This was a judgment call that Thor had to make, and due to his exceptional divergent thinking, he was able to utilize his fears, like john said, into a strength.
In the popular show The X-Files, agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are FBI agents who investigate cases that cannot be solved due to their paranormal or abstract manner. Mulder is a full believer in the paranormal, while his partner, Dana Scully, is a skeptic and a scientist who in every episode often debunks Mulder’s theories. However, in the series Mulder’s outside of the box thinking is what often leads them to evidence and connecting the dots in order to solve any cases when they do. Specifically, a few run-on episodes follow the case of a alien man who can stretch himself in order to get through skinny openings. Agent Mulder is able to piece together that this mans hand print, when stretched out, is an identical match to a hand print left at a crime scene and solves a long string of murders. His divergent thinking, which his partner would not have thought to do, enabled him to close a long-standing open case.
In the movie “Divergent,” the protagonist Tris Prior lives in a futuristic world in which society is divided into five factions. As she enters adulthood, she must choose a faction and commit to it for life. Tris chooses the Dauntless, who are those who pursue bravery above all else. Her initiation leads to the discovery that she is a Divergent and will never be able to fit into just one faction. Essentially, the plot develops as she comes to terms with her status and understands her role as a divergent thinker. She uses her thought process to generate creative and alternative ways to approach situations and though she must conceal her status as Divergent, she must use her cognitive mindset to fight the looming war that threatens everyone she loves.
In Star Wars, Luke Skywalker is tasked with leading a squadron of X-Wings to blow up the Death Star. As he’s flying through the trenches and after Han Solo gets Vader and the Tie-Fighters off his back, Luke has to shoot his proton torpedoes into the exhaust port. All logic and intellect tells him to use his ship’s aim-assist technology, but the sudden presence of Old Ben Kenobi’s voice in his head, telling him to instead use the Force, ultimately makes Luke disregard the targeting system. Because of his divergent thinking, Luke is able to destroy the Death Star and become a hero to the Rebellion.
In the movie “Black Panther”, the final fight scene between Blank Panther and Killmonger highlights T’Challa’s use of divergent thinking to ultimately defeat his enemy. In the midst of fighting, T’Challa recognizes that it is almost impossible to defeat Killmonger due to the protection and power that his suit provides him. T’Challa makes notice of his surroundings during the fight, and tells Shuri to turn on the train that goes through the tracks that they are fighting on. By turning on the train, both T’Challa’s and Killmonger’s suits are deactivated and they both are vulnerable. T’Challa takes this risk and uses this knowledge to his advantage. Typically, one would do all one can to avoid being vulnerable and unprotected in this situation. However, Black Panther thinks outside of the box and uses this factor to his advantage, as Killmonger’s vulnerability from the train ultimately allows T’Challa to kill him.
We think Caroline’s example from Black Panther is the best illustration of divergent thinking. The actions of the character truly demonstrate his ability to assess the situation and cleverly react. Although his move is risky, it was well calculated and, because of his divergent thinking, it was successful.
This is the most insightful example of divergent thinking because it emphasizes how the use of this mentality can lead to success. T’Challa understands that he must use his surroundings in order to defeat his opponent. His vulnerability does not adhere to his strength and he is able to think unlike many.
In the classic movie Matilda, Matilda shows her capability of divergent thinking throughout the whole plot. Matilda is a genius and thinks like no one else can. Her mind is beyond her age and she is essentially capable of out-smarting anyone in her neighborhood – adults included. Matilda has telekinesis and is able to control things with her mind – she is the most powerful in the movie. One scene that I think vividly shows Matilda’s ability to think divergently is the scene where her dad tells her “I’m Smart, You’re dumb.” This is one of my favorite scenes in the movie, because throughout it all, Matilda is bullied by her parents. After her dad says this to her, Matilda uses her mind to move a bottle of super-glue and squeeze it into his hat. This action leads to the embarrassment of her parents when they are in a restaurant since her mother can not pull the hat off of her father’s head. Matilda’s parents make a scene in the restaurant, her mom falls over on someone else’s table, and creates a huge mess. Matilda makes her parents look like fools and she does it all with her powerful mind. Matilda has the ability to think fast and create schemes as revenge to her abusive parents which truly shows divergent thinking.
In “The Hunger Games”, Katniss Everdeen finds herself in an arena battle to the death with only her developing survival skills. As the eventual winner along with Peeta Mellark, Katniss’ newfound ability to adapt to almost any situation is the true key to her survival. This adaptability effectively shows divergent thinking, as Katniss must think outside the box in order to survive in unlikely scenarios. Logic is not something she can rely on in this situation because anything can happen due to the arena being in the hands of the Capital. At one point, she decides to cut down a hive of tracker jackers, genetically engineered deadly wasps, onto a group of other competitors in order to kill them. Logically, this is not a good idea as there is risk in Katniss getting stung and potentially dying, yet her bold idea lands her one step closer to winning the competition.
In the movie “The Godfather” directed by Francis Ford Coppola, Michael must utilize divergent thinking in order to protect his family from their powerful enemies. When Don Vito is in the hospital after he is wounded by a near-fatal gunshot, his guards leave, thus exposing him to harm from other rivals. Michael realizes that his father is vulnerable and pretends to be the guard himself He even feigns as to have a gun. This quick divergent thinking allows Michael to scare off the assassins and protect his father. It is also shows the shift between Michael’s ambitions from a law-abiding citizen to a powerful mafia boss.
The Godfather is the most insightful because Michael’s quick thinking has deep ramifications in the plot and in the themes of the movie. There is tension between Don Vito and Michael, as Michael is the favorite son and is supposed to get a legitimate job. However, he is forced to choose between these two lives when his father is in danger. Michael must use divergent thinking to make a quick decision about whether to save his father’s life and how to do it. His decision shows his qualifications to be the Don and ultimately forces him to join the mob. It also demonstrates his courage and intelligence.
During the movie “Up”, the producer portrays a moment of “divergent thinking” when Carl Fredricksen decides to fly his house to South America, using balloons as his transportation. This happened when he was about to move into an assisted living home, but by using his divergent thinking, he started to tie thousands of balloons to his house. In doing so, he was able to release his house from the ground and transport it to his favorite place. This is a key instance of divergent thinking because his idea appeared in his mind and he did everything to make his dream a reality, without hesitation. The producer conveys this use of divergent thinking in order to show people that their dreams can come true; all they have to do is step out of their comfort zone and take a risk. This example also shows people that it is okay to take risks sometimes, one just has to be confident in their decision.
In Season 3, Episode 1 of the TV show Downton Abbey, Matthew Crawley shows divergent thinking when faced with a crisis at a dinner party to celebrate his impending wedding. One of the guests, Larry Grey, spikes Tom Branson’s drink in an attempt to disgrace him in front of the entire Crawley family and some of their high profile guests. Larry is spiteful towards Branson because he is a lower class chauffeur but eloped with Lady Sybil, who Larry had a crush on since childhood. Branson becomes very animated at the dinner table, going on a rant about the British oppression of Ireland to a crowd of upper class Englishmen who do not share his beliefs. After Sybil is taking Branson away from the table, Larry is found out as the reason why Tom was so inebriated. Larry then goes on a rant about how Tom does not matter since he is “only a grubby little chauffeur chap”. To save the dinner party and to reinforce the family’s support of Tom even after the scene that he made, Matthew makes a very quick decision using divergent thinking. He decides to announce that he is making Branson his best man for his wedding. This completely saves the party because it takes a very negative moment that would leave people with a bad taste in their mouth for Matthew and Mary’s wedding and turns it into something positive. It also shows support to Tom after he was feeling very isolated from his wife’s family because of the differences in their beliefs. Matthew making a lower class Chauffeur that eloped with his cousin was very unconventional for the time, showing how divergent his thinking was.
Contains major spoilers for Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn Trilogy
In Brandon Sanderson’s novel “Mistborn: The Hero of Ages,” the main character Vin uses divergent thinking to outsmart and defeat a malicious god called Ruin. Ruin helped create the world Vin lived on with another god called Preservation, and only agreed to do so because Preservation promised that Ruin would eventually be allowed to destroy the world. Preservation betrays Ruin with the help of a Feruchemist (they’re like wizards who can store cetrain traits like strength, speed, weight, and age inside metals) named Rashek who locks the gasous form of Ruin’s body (one of the forms of his power) away in a cavern below the earth. Unfortunatley, Vin kills Rashek, and the prison that kept Ruin’s gaseous body locked away for thousands of years begins to fall apart. Vin and her fiancee Elend must both travel across the planet following clues that Rashek left behind in the case of his death. The clues lead to a way to defeat Ruin. They learn that the only way to stop the end of the world is to get allomancers (they’re like wizards who can eat metal and gain powers from it) to eat and use up all of Ruin’s physical body while the Hero of Ages takes in the liquid and gaseous form of Preservation’s body to Ascend and fight Ruin while he is weak (as he only exists in gaseous form because his physical form has been eaten and his liquid form is unaccesible to him) The thing is, Ruin has the ability to speak in the humans minds as well as alter text; however, he can’t read anything ingraved in metal and cannot hear thoughts. Vin does not make this connection until she, Elend, and a Feruchemist named Sazed are locked in a cavern while the end of the world is happening and they notice that a portion of a book that has been stored inside one of Sazed’s rings does not match up with the text on the page. Finally, all the puzzle pieces click together for Vin and she realizes that Ruin has been leading them on a false trail in an attempt to retrieve his physical body. She uses divergent thinking to overcome the very one track way she was thinking before and discovers the true identity of the Hero of Ages- Sazed. She immediatley gathers all the allomancers and they eat Ruin’s physical body (which exists in the form of metal) and leads them in battle against the Koloss (which are monsters made through Hemalurgy. Hemalurgy is a form of magic in which a spike is driven through the heart of one person and directly into a certain part of the body of another in order to transfer some trait or quality from one to another.) army. While they battle the Koloss Sazed Ascends, kills Ruin, and unites both Ruin and Preservations powers to become Harmony.
In the classic Italian movie “La Vita è Bella”, Guido displays excellent divergent thinking. In the beginning of the movie, Guido is shown as a comical, quick-witted, and cunning man who causes funny shenanigans throughout Arezzo where the beginning of the movie takes place. But when the Nazis come and take Guido away along with his wife, Dora, and his son, Giosue, Guido takes his playful demeanor and uses it as an escape for his son. In the concentration camp, Guido makes the snap decision as soon as they get into the barracks to tell Giosue that they are playing a game and the first person to 1000 points wins a tank. With this quick-witted and original idea to turn a dire situation such as a concentration camp into a game, Guido manages to salvage his young son’s childhood innocence and use it to guarantee that he survives the horrors of the Holocaust.
In the movie, “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,” Harry uses quick, divergent thinking to defeat his dragon in the tournament he is competing in. All of the other competitors beat their dragons with their strengths, spells, but Harry took a different approach. He knew his strength was flying, so he called his broom and beat his dragon by thinking quickly and doing what he is good at. Choosing to follow a different path than his peers, Harry was still able to complete the same task. A big part of divergent thinking is going outside your comfort zone, but it is also capitalizing on the things you enjoy and are good at. Combining our skill sets with creative ways of thinking allows every one of us to complete the tasks we are given.
I found that this example was very helpful in understanding the meaning of divergent thinking. It gave a clear, easy-to-follow example of how one can think outside the box and come up with a solution at an unexpected moment. In addition, I feel that people can vividly imagine the scene in their minds, allowing them to have a deeper understanding on the matter.
We think “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” is an excellent representation of divergent thinking and shows how one can truly capitalize off their strengths. What makes Harry Potter special in this scenario is that other people would have choose a different path- using a spell on the dragon- Harry chose to use something that demonstrated his talent in flying.
In the movie Fletch, Chevy Chase’s character reflects divergent thinking throughout the entirety of the movie. Chase’s character, Irwin Fletch, is an investigative reporter covering a story on the drug trade at a local beach. From the inception of the movie, Fletch demonstrates divergence in his thinking when he dresses up as a homeless man to look inconspicuous. This decision was impulsive on his part, but served as a catalyst for the rest of the plot, where his divergent thinking would be of the utmost importance. A business man that spots a the homeless-looking Fletch offers him $50,000 if he will assist him in his own death. Fletch accepts as he detects something sinister going on, and goes forth on his quest to uncover the truth. Some of his divergent actions include breaking in entering, running from dogs, spinning wild stories to people at countries clubs, and the like; if not for his divergent thinking, Fletch would not have survived against the corruption of bribed law enforcement, or succeeded in uncovering the truth. (As a side note: This movie is hilarious and I recommend it to anyone that loves an entertaining 80s comedy).
In the 2009 animated movie “Coraline,” the titular character becomes trapped in a pocket dimension with her “Other Mother,” a beldam who supposedly wants to consume Coraline’s soul. To make it back to her world, Coraline needs to find the hidden souls of the other children the beldam ate. Since the souls are “hidden in plain sight,” Coraline uses divergent thinking to realize they were disguised as spherical objects ranging from a circus ball to the moon. Another example of divergent thinking occurs when the beldam swallows the only key to the portal leading to Coraline’s home. As she is playing a high-stakes, fate-determining ‘game’ with the beldam (with the lives of her parents on the line), Coraline pretends her parents are behind the door so the beldam will cough up the key and unlock it. This strategic move allows Coraline time to devise another plot. One can see that divergent thinking is an underrated skill, useful in even life-threatening conditions.
This is a great example of divergent thinking. Coraline uses nothing but her wits and the occasional help from an interdimensional cat to outsmart her “Other Mother.” This is an especially good example because of how high the stakes are for Coraline. Despite the pressure, she thinks quickly using all different parts of her brain to save her parents.
In the popular medical series Grey’s Anatomy, there are many examples of divergent thinking with their many medical breakthroughs. These surgeons are smart, brilliant thinkers, and incredibly creative with their solutions and inspirations through their daily life. In one storyline, there was a special occurrence with a patient beforehand in which she grew a new spleen in her body. To face their problems with liver failures, the main characters Meredith Grey and Jo Karev got inspiration from this occurrence and came up with a surgical innovation by growing mini-livers and tested this theory with rats.
This is the best example of divergent thinking because this is a drastic situation that requires quick thinking. The doctors in this show have be extremely confident in themselves and their abilities regardless of their doubts in themselves. Divergent thinking helps them to save lives and gain more knowledge through quick thinking in real-life scenarios.
In “The Grand Hotel”, Julio Espinosa arrives at a hotel where his sister was murdered to work as a waiter and to solve the mysteries of her death. Throughout the show, his actions show a lot of divergent thinking as Julio in the first place arrives with a fake identity and conceals his real-self from everyone else to easily approach the suspects. Furthermore, in the later episodes, Julio falls in love with Alicia, the hotel manager’s daughter. Although they have to keep their feelings towards each other a secret due to their difference in social class, Alicia uses her power to find out various classified information hidden in the hotel and helps out Julio solve the murder mystery. However, as the plot progresses, they find out that there have been a series of murders, and they begin using their divergent thinking process to investigate. An example of this is when Julio and Alicia fake their identities as the police and the chief investigators as and enters into the criminal’s house. Also, Julio various times pretends to be serving Alicia during mealtimes or in her room and devise plans together.
I have always watched cooking shows since I was younger and I have never appreciated the examples of divergent thinking that are included in these types of shows. My favorite was always “Chopped” and this show requires contestants to be able to think about multiple aspects of the competition at once, under a time limit. The chefs on this show are faced with the challenge of processing what the items are in the mystery baskets at the beginning of each round, figuring out what they are going to cook using these ingredients, and create their own recipe that will fulfill the task of using all the ingredients while making something edible and tasty at the same time. The divergent thinking of the chefs was the most enticing and amusing part of this show for me as a kid as I watched the contestants struggle to multi-task. This is truly divergent thinking.
In Season 5 Episode 14 of The Office, Dwight decides to simulate a fire. This fire drill differs from most, however, being that in this case, there was a real fire. There was more than one example of divergent thinking in this scene. Oscar Martinez, in an attempt to save himself, breaks through the ceiling into the crawlspace above the office. Angela Martin, who had been keeping one of her cats in the file cabinet next to her desk cares more about saving her cat’s life than her own. In the spur of a moment decision, she decides to throw the car up into the ceiling where Oscar is. Both of these are clear examples of divergent thinking. None of the members of The Office were aware that the prior was going to happen beforehand (except Dwight). However, all of them were able to quickly come up with ways that they could improvise to get out of the situation that they were in.
In the Netflix show “Two Sentence Horror Stories” divergent thinking is the basis of the entire show. The premise of each episode is the director takes two sentences of someones writing and forms a story for the episode based off of those two sentences. An example is, “She was stiff and cold in my arms. Then the doll blinked. ” There are endless stories that these two sentences could foster, which is the editorial freedom that the director, Natalia Lyudin, has with ever episode. This is an idea that works in tandem with divergent thinking as the director and the show’s team in general was in charge of where those two sentences will lead. The creativity within this show is impressive and without divergent thinking it would be dull if it was anything at all.