Developing a Divergent Tool


This paper and accompanying short films ( have been produced to inform the development of a wider design research based PhD. The aim of the PhD is to develop a divergent tool to help designers be more creative within the early stages of the architectural design process. The paper and films are a snapshot of the tool’s development to date and comprise the examination of a series of design process tests by the researcher, who is an architect and architectural students from the University of the West of England. The selection of testers for this stage of the research was based on availability sampling.

The paper is structured into four distinct sections, which emerged whilst analysing the short films. These sections are fixate, diverge, leap and verify and are mapped onto Wallas’ 4 stage creativity model (1926).

The analysis of the films identifies the importance of divergent activities in supporting emergence (as opposed to a singular ‘creative leap’), in which new, previously unrecognised properties become apparent through the design process. The research has highlighted the importance of a balance between divergent and convergent activities within successful creative processes and has developed a filmic framework for exploring the architectural design process. This is particularly pertinent at a time when the architecture industry, driven by efficiency, is moving towards convergent step-by-step processes and away from divergent processes and creative possibilities.
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