Critical Thinking Training vs. Creativity Training

If you perform a cursory review of studies that outline critical skills for the future you’ll see what, on the surface, appears to be conflicting information.  Some studies suggest critical thinking is essential while others suggest creativity is most important.  For instance, recent studies by Pearson TalentLens/Executive Development Associates and American Management Association suggest that critical thinking is most crucial.  Yet, an oft cited study by IBM indicates that creativity is the number one competency for the future.

Question: Which skill (critical thinking or creativity) is most important for your team?

Answer: They both are!  They’re two sides of the same coin.

A closer inspection of each of the surveys reveals that critical and creative thinking are both essential.  The Pearson/EDA study even includes creative thinking under the category of critical thinking.  Why are both critical and creative thought essential?  To solve problems you sometimes must think deductively and rationally (critically) whereas in other instances you need to think expansively and innovatively (creatively).  If teams approach all problems from a purely rational, deductive manner, they’ll never exceed previous levels of achievement.   Conversely, if teams approach all problems creatively, they’ll never understand why something wasn’t working and be able to take corrective action.  Many problems require a blend of the two approaches.  To focus on developing one and ignoring the other not only risks ineffective problem solving but it runs contrary to what people intuitively understand – they need both.

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Creative Problem Solving | Problem Solving Training | Decision Making | Teaching Critical Thinking Skills | Critical Thinking