Critical Thinking vs Creative Thinking

Think Better: An Innovator's Guide to Productive Thinking

I just started reading “Think Better: An Innovator’s Guide to Productive Thinking” by Tim Hurson.

I just started Chapter 3 and have become amazed that I hadn’t thought about the difference between Critical Thinking and Creative Thinking….even though I’ve blogged about the subject in the past (see The Problem(s) with Linear Thinking, Critical Thinking Definitions, and my review of Jack’s Notebook).

In Chapter 3 of this book, the author does a great job explaining that these are completely different thinking processes.  The author provides the following definitions:

  • Creative Thinking – generative, nonjudgmental and expansive. When you are thinking creatively, you are generating lists of new ideas.
  • Critical Thinking – analytical, judgmental and selective. When you are thinking critically, you are making choices.

I hadn’t thought about the differences between these two types of thinking…in fact, I’ve even used them as interchangeable terms for the same thing!

The author argues that using both thinking processes together creates a much more productive thinking process.  An interesting analogy that he uses in the book is:

Think of the thinking process as a kayak with 2 paddles. One paddle represents creative thinking while the other represents critical thinking.  If you were to only use one paddle (i.e., creative thinking), you’d end up going in circles.  To make the kayak move forward, you’ve got to alternate between paddles.

So far this is an interesting book…I plan to review it in more detail later this month.

  • http://www.ConceptSL.com Yohan Launay

    Hi Eric,

    Interesting topic Creative Thinking vs Critical Thinking.

    That’s why you should always work in team. With my business partner, there is always one coming out with crazy ideas and the other one to criticize and bring it down to something realistic. We alternate depending on the projects we work on.

    — Yohan

  • http://ericbrown.com Eric D. Brown

    Great idea Yohan…perfect reason to have a business partner. To be able to bounce ideas off someone is an ideal way to brainstorm.

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