Creative ideas need critical reasoning to see the light of day – take your raw materials and shape them into reality. Think of it as imaganation + maths.
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Develop your critical thinking
Ask better questions
Diagnose and hypothesise
Creative ideas need critical reasoning to deliver
It can be quite confusing when you’re browsing critical thinking courses – many are related to university courses, philosophy or technology.
For a business to be operating at its very best, decision-making is an essential skill, for leadership teams as well as organisations more broadly.
People need to be able to choose effective solutions to problems to find new ways to grow the business and innovate.
Their ability to do this rests not on just the data that is available to them, but their skill in acting upon this data in such a way as to benefit the company.
It’s not artificial intelligence, it’s human intelligence – it’s the ability to take information from multiple streams, analyse it, examine and evaluate arguments, think logically, solve problems and make better decisions. And the very heart of this is critical thinking.
Critical thinking is your creative scaffolding
If you were to name intellectual geniuses your list might include several scientists and philosophers. Socrates, Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking and Isaac Newton, perhaps?
These big thinkers are champions of rational arguments and logic. We all know that logic is a crucial pillar of the creative process, but we can tend to overlook the fact. And it doesn’t just stop with scientists.
Without logical, mathematical patterns, music is just noise. Most good poems are built around a clear structure. Shakespeare’s plots unfold in a way that ‘makes sense’, even if the twists and turns are hard to predict. The introduction of thinking logically and critically provides a scaffold to lead your creative executions and arguments around.
Our critical thinking courses, like our Strategy Ninja course, can help you to develop these essential skills.
What is critical thinking?
If creativity is all about imagination, critical thinking is aligned with reason and logic. Problem solving sits somewhere between the two.
We come at this as a core part of the creative process.
Innovation needs critical thinking.
For every one concept that succeeds, hundreds need to be generated, explored and tested. Critical thinking tools and processes help to explore ideas that are desirable, feasible and viable (IDEO) and bridge the gap between imagination and reality to solve problems.
It’s likely that few of your initial solutions can be applied in reality or developed into practical plans. Using critical thinking methods as part of a thorough creative process will help you to systematically find a balance between your dreams and hunches, and reality, in order to build viable solutions.
This evidence-based approach also enables you to bring others along to get on board with your concepts and well-considered arguments. Our online and in-person pitch and presentation skills training can help you to craft a good argument and inform better decisions.
Skills not just for work but for life
Characteristics of a Well-Cultivated Critical Thinker
According to the well-established Paul Elder Critical Thinking Framework a critical thinker is able to:
- Raise vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely
- Gather and assess relevant information, using abstract ideas to interpret it effectively
- Come to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards;
- Think open-mindedly within alternative systems of thought, recognizing and assessing, as need be, their assumptions, implications, and practical consequences; and
- Communicate clearly with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems
- Whilst they may not be listed on your current job description, understanding basic logical strategies is a key skill that will enhance your critical thinking process.
Thinking critically involve a need to develop intellectual traits such as courage, empathy, humility and integrity.
In short, logical and critical thinking can help you break down what you think you know – and explore the issue from many different perspectives using basic skills and approaches. That’s a range of mental skills that with belief and practice will make you more think more logically, challenge your own cognitive biases, evaluate information, be more effective at work and help future-proof your career and job opportunities.
It’s the absolute antithesis of what goes on in the popular TV show The Apprentice where decisions are made for the sole benefit of the candidates, who often demonstrate poor decision making and a complete absence of logical and practical critical thinking. Their decisions are based on emotion and rarely analyse arguments of others.
Why is critical thinking important?
Critical thinking skills will also help you to make more informed decisions, articulate your thoughts and knowledge, as well as as evaluate arguments more clearly – and, ultimately, act in the best interests of your company.
Critical thinkers are able to analyse arguments objectively by looking at different aspects of an issue or topic. They can also understand the limits of their knowledge and expertise, as well as being open to considering other perspectives.
Channel the likes of well-known logical and critical thinkers – your inner Jeremy Paxman, Socrates, Judge Judy or even Dr Spock to balance out inner your Captain Kirk!
Logical and critical thinking process in business
It’s a skill that is vital for business. The American Management Association surveyed more than 2,000 executives and managers and found that 68% of them felt that critical thinking was the most important skill that their company needed to succeed in the 21st century.
When thinking critically about a problem, the likelihood that the solution you settle on is the right one increases exponentially. You arrive at the answer having applied the perfect mix of data, logic, creative thinking and reason – backed up by a solid process that has enabled you to evaluate information in a systemic way.
Logical and critical thinking requires solid frameworks. Our online and in-person courses use frameworks and techniques curated by our team of practitioners and experts. Many of our clients come from fields including PR, marketing, social media, brand management and communications and are driven by the need for better decision making.
Everyday business examples of where logical and critical thinking is required include:
- Deciding what to include in a briefing document for an external agency or partner
- When analysing consumer behaviour
- When you need to develop a strong point of view on a data set
- When you want to ensure your campaigns and concepts are bias-free
- When you to bring a wide range of stakeholders along with you
- When you know you need to controlling your own (and others) emotional responses to a sensitive topic
- When you need to decide which concepts to pursue after a brainstorm
- When you need to examine your sources of information – is it reliable or fake news?
- Setting KPI’s
Develop your critical thinking skills
An accomplished critical thinker learns how to raise important questions, amass relevant information, think openly and in different ways, make well-reasoned arguments and communicate their thoughts with others.
Being a critical thinker is a key part of developing strategy. It is not about an accumulation of knowledge (that is one and done), it’s about being able to:
- Think about a topic or issue in an objective way.
- Evaluate different points of view.
- Identify the different arguments or there are in relation to a particular issue.
- Recognise any weaknesses or negative points that there are in the evidence or argument.
- Providing support for an argument that you want to make.
- Identify a poor argument and construct a sound one.
- Ask better questions.
Critical thinkers go deeper. We help people to develop logical and critical thinking skills in a variety of interesting and engaging ways, using multiple methods and frameworks. We have courses designed to help with everything from where to look for insight to developing creative strategy and creative leadership skills development.
Our training courses
Employers now consider creative thinking to be a core capability, and for brand and agency teams it's essential. The good news is that thinking more creatively is a learnable skill! We've trained thousands of people in practical ways to improve the way they think and solve problems – explore our courses below:
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