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Critical Thinking: The Arch Enemy of Creativity?

March 1, 2017

Critical thinking. Many depict it as suffocating creativity. Critical thinking is formal, process-oriented and traditional. Creativity, on the other hand, is free expression, expanding our ideas and freeing us from limits. In this storyline, creativity is the hero and critical thinking the arch enemy.


But, what if critical thinking isn’t the arch enemy – what if it plays the role of vital best friend to our hero, creativity? 

The best friend is loyal with the same goals as the hero. The best friend always acts to protect the hero from harm. When the hero is about to make a bad decision, the best friend jumps in to present a new and more insightful viewpoint to the hero.

Critical thinking allows us to look at a problem from multiple perspectives. It permits us to rise above our own perspective and opens up a wider set of options. It prevents us from unintended errors like  jumping to conclusions, only seeing what we want to see and falling in love with our own idea. 

Think there is no risk of you or your teams making these mistakes? Think again! How often do we see brands put out a campaign or product and we say, “What were they thinking?” The list goes on and on…Pepsi’s Kylie Jenner ad…Bud Light’s slogan “The perfect beer for removing “No” from your vocabulary for the night”…Under Armour’s “Band of Ballers” t-shirt. I’ve never met these brand teams but I’m pretty sure the people on them are not bad people. They are probably hard-working, experienced professionals. But they let their hero, creativity, run loose without its best friend - critical thinking. They fell in love with their own idea and didn't question their assumptions because their best friend wasn’t there to help them.


Make sure critical thinking is the best friend, not the arch enemy, in your story. It will enable you and your team to be your best hero. 

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