Creative Thinking Styles

5:06:00 PM

Creative thinking is a skill which incorporates several thinking styles that can help you imagine, analyze, select and execute your ideas. Creative thinking does not stop with an idea being generated in your mind - unless you bring the idea to reality you cannot call yourself a true creative thinker.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao via Unsplash
Creative thinking is a complex process that consists of several stages and requires mental work that combines several ways of thinking, or thinking styles.

We are all unique and so is our thinking. How individuals think depends on their intelligence, education, upbringing, current circumstances, even current mood. Personal thinking style depends also on genetic predispositions and environment, same as person’s physical characteristics. If you gather a group of people and give each person a suitcase filled with identical clothing items, each one of them will dress in their own fashion and look different from the rest. Same goes with different thinking styles - we are all capable of using many different thinking styles simultaneously but we prefer some more then other.

Here are the most common thinking styles


is the skill typically found in highly productive individuals. If you need to solve a specific problem and your mind constantly wanders around you will never be able to finish your task successfully. To be a good thinker you must train your mind to stay focused on the problem so you can achieve great results, fast.


is the most creative of all thinking styles because it helps you connect less obvious information to form new and unique ideas. Ideas often happen out of the blue, when inspiration strikes, but you can also train your brain to think of new ideas whenever you need them. You can become creative on demand by using different creative thinking techniques which will train your brain to freely and abundantly use creative associations.


helps you discover values, benefits and potentials of an idea or situation. Sometimes, though, you can get carried away, even fall in love with the idea, and think it is the best ever only to become disillusioned by it the very next morning. Positive  thinking is valuable part of thinking process because it can give insight into various potentials of the idea and provide arguments that can sell it better.


is idea Terminator. It is usually irrational, and can do no good but bring discouragement, induce negative energy among team members and block creativity and team work. INSTEAD OF BEING NEGATIVE, YOU SHOULD BE CAUTIOUS. Think of all the shortcomings of an idea, all the unfavourable scenarios and bad things that can happen - but ALWAYS provide solid arguments for your statements. Cautious thinking can help you prevent problems and discover well in advance things that need to be avoided or improved.


deals with pure facts and numbers and can help you determine how feasible or sustainable an idea is. It is essential for project development and can play a crucial part in the decision process.


is usually overlooked but can play important part in the decision and execution phase. If all members in the team like the idea, they are more likely to put extra effort into executing it. Similarly, if you are passionate about your idea, you will keep energy and enthusiasm to go through it even in times of crisis.


is most  important when planning long term projects. It requires you to think several steps ahead and be able to predict different scenarios for idea execution. You should be able to step aside, take a helicopter view of the situation and analyze thoroughly the context, stakeholders, resources and processes needed for the idea execution so that you can plan your next steps.

Whenever you are imagining or considering a new idea, try to combine these thinking styles to achieve best possible results of your thinking effort.

Creative thinking exercise:

Rate 1-5 points:
a) How often do you use each one of these thinking styles?
b) How good are you in these thinking styles?
Think which one of these styles you could benefit from if you used them more often.

Write on seven cards names of these thinking styles.
Next time you are doing your own work, use these cards to determine the order in which you will use some of these styles. Combine and repeat some styles as you progress with your thinking. Remember, the more styles you use, the better results you will be able to produce.

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