“What’s the difference between thinking analytically and thinking creatively?
In its basic form, analysis involves being able to comprehend information by identifying key aspects/features of it.
Highly developed analytical skills are reflected in the ability to analyse different information and make comparisons, and quite possibly connections, to other information. It is the latter that leads to the development of new knowledge – and enters the realm of creative thinking.
For the Ph.D. student, their analysis of particular content should contribute to the development of original knowledge. It is the latter, their examiners are looking for evidence of.
For a six year old – analysis of different types of berries (which is content) – might lead to an understanding that there are somethings better than ice cream and chocolate.
Analytical work is generally focused on the exploration and development of a particular area of content. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, it is seminal to knowledge development, pragmatic, and profoundly important.
Creative thought takes analysis one step further and links diverse areas, disciplines, information, fields of study. Its key focus is creating links between different and diverse areas of content/experience. And it can do this with anything anywhere.
On the evolutionary thinking cycle, analytical thinking skills precede creative ones.
Creative thinking is fuelled by endless curiosity:
- a passion for the unknown, and
Analytical thinking is framed by:
- discipline and rigour
- a healthy respect for the known and a fervour to go beyond it, in a particular area of content.
You can be an analytical thinker without being a creative thinker. You cannot be a creative thinker without being an analytical one.
Analytical thinking should take place in all education settings and business milieux.
Creative thinking should also take place in educational settings, especially tertiary ones, but it is an absolute must in business cultures.
Degrees are not a pre-requisite to be an analytical or a creative thinker.
- self awareness
- curiosity, and
- resilience are.
Any Creative Thinker will be at the receiving end of communications that suggest, often strongly, you cannot ‘create’ or ‘do’ what you ‘know’ you can. This is why method, process, structure, rigour, perseverance, resilience, passion and courage are important.
I wonder how many times, British Street Artist, Banksy, has heard the words: “Good idea but it will never happen!”
Is Banksy an analytical or creative thinker? They are BOTH.
To produce the work they do, in the places they install it, and in the conditions (including time frame) they work in – requires a level of method, attention to detail, organisation, discipline, structure, rigour, analysis – that any self-respecting CEO would be in awe of. That method/strategy – allows Banksy’s creativity to flow.
In Banksy’s world – Creative Acumen and Business Acumen do more than balance. They seamlessly collide, providing value for the artist and the viewer; allowing passion, purpose, potential to be realised in an infinite number of ways – globally and locally – without much of an indent into Banksy’s marketing and advertising budget. Surely that would be a KPI on any businesses’ budget?