Critical and Creative Thinking Skills

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ICT Competence: Basic

English Language Skills: Intermediate

Action type: Simple actions that can be implemented immediately without requiring an investment

In order to develop a more holistic approach to entrepreneurship, it is essential to foster creative and critical thinking skills. Important innovations and breakthroughs have resulted from combining creative and critical thinking skills. Entrepreneurship is innovative by excellence, therefore requiring a mix of a strong set of critical and creative skills. Approaches differ considerably between the skills used in creative thinking and those used in critical thinking. Essentially, it is the synergy created by the combination of both sets of skills that makes us treat them in conjunction with one another. By applying creative and critical thinking approaches to entrepreneurship, you will enrich and deepen your experience.

a). What are creative and critical thinking skills

In the present context, creative thinking comes down to applying imagination to your entrepreneurial endeavour. Since imagination is limitless, you need critical thinking to tone it down and moderate it. Creative Thinking Skills: keeping in mind the words of Linus Pauling, double Nobel Laureate, chemist, biochemist and peace campaigner - “The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas,” we can assert that creative thinking skills are the ones stimulating the creative process. This set of skills is the very definition of thinking outside the box, changing perspective and lateral thinking. Here are some basic skills in this category:

  • Problem-solving: finding solutions requires creativity, identification of pathways which have been overlooked.
  • Reframing: changing our interpretation of an event, situation, behaviour, person or object. - Mind mapping: allows you to write ideas down in an associative, organic pattern, starting with a key concept in the centre of the page, and radiating out in all directions, using lines to connect related ideas. An order or pattern emerges, in the lines connecting related ideas together in clusters.
  • Insight: an idea that appears in the mind as if from nowhere.

As the Foundation for Critical Thinking puts it, critical thinking is that mode of thinking — about any subject, content, or problem — in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by analysing, assessing, and reconstructing it.

b). How to develop your critical and creative thinking skills

  • Focus on the process instead of the result
  • ask the main question 20 times, give 20 different answers - brainstorm or free write: write down all your ideas without judging them
  • change tools: using a new instrument is creativity inducing since you need to learn how to use it and the mere novelty is a stimulant for the brain and the creative process. For in depth practicing of creativity, you can use creativity innovation tools.

On the other hand, five basic critical thinking strategies such as, comparing, contrasting, analysing, categorising and evaluating can help you discern from various possibilities or courses of action and guide you towards making the right decision. Here is one five step process that may help you find a solution through critical thinking.

Positive and Negative Part of the Solution

Positive

Understanding the potential benefits of working on this set of skills can have a positive impact on a company.

Negative

The results are not immediately measurable.

Time required to implement a solution and when possible associated cost

This action requires some hours of study and practice.

Estimated Exploitation

Understanding the benefits can motivate the company members to be successful with their solution implementation.

Informative Text (Sources)

  1. Coughlan, Ann (2007 - 2008). Creative thinking and critical thinking retrieved from https://www.dcu.ie/sites/default/files/students/studentlearning/creativeandcritical.pdf
  2. Doyle, Alison (2018 Mar 29). Creative Thinking Definition, Skills, and Examples retrieved from 
    https://www.thebalancecareers.com/creative-thinking-definition-with-examples-2063744
  3. McGuinness, Mark. Lesson 5: The Four Most Powerful Types of Creative Thinking retrieved from
    https://lateralaction.com/creative-thinking/
  4. The Foundation for Critical Thinking
    http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/our-concept-and-definition-of-critical-thinking/411 - top
  5. Bryant, William (2017 November 7). At the Intersection of Creativity and Critical Thinking retrieved from
    http://www.gettingsmart.com/2017/11/at-the-intersection-of-creativity-and-critical-thinking/

Additional Resources

  1. 7 creative thinking skills important for you to have
  2. Creative thinking skills
  3. Creative thinking
  4. The seven most effective techniques for creativity
  5. How to think, not what to think

Cross Border remark

Universally valid information.