Critical and Creative Thinking

Why bother with Critical and Creative thinking?

To get a good idea you need to have many. Then filter those ideas to find your best one.

What is Critical Thinking?

‘The objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgement.’

– Google

‘Critical thinking is used to evaluate these. (ideas)’


Think of critical thinking as thinking that generally narrows your focus, and eliminates options

Critical Thinking Techniques

  • 6 Thinking Hats (Edward De Bono)
  • Market Analysis
  • Trials Test
  • PMI (Plus, Minus Interesting)
  • SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats)
  • Material Testing
  • How, What, Why, When, Where, Who
  • Defend/Sell the Product
  • Survey Questions

Critical thinking to ask yourself

  • How is this product like other products
  • How is this product unlike other products?
  • What happens if we take 1 part out of the product?
  • What happens if we put 1 part into the product?
  • How does the product change over time?
  • How does the product adjust to changes?
  • Where does the product fail?
  • Am I missing something that others are seeing?


What is Creative Thinking?

‘Creative thinking involves the creation or generation of ideas, processes, experiences or objects’


As opposed to critical thinking where you try to narrow your focus, creative thinking is aimed at widening it. Providing more options to you

Creative thinking techniques

Provided by VCAA

  • Evolution (incremental improvement; new ideas that stem from other ideas)
  • Synthesis (two or more ideas are combined into a third)
  • Revolution (completely new approach)
  • Reapplication (look at something that exists in a new way)
  • Changing direction (shifting attention from one angle or problem to another).

Other Creative Thinking Methods

  • Mind map/Brainstorm – Visual and with words
  • Mood boards
  • ‘What if?’ type questions
  • Lotus Map
  • Storyboards
  • Modelling
  • Design challenges
  • Inspiration
  • Games / Role Playing


As part of a team (2-3), research 4 of the different creative and critical design thinking methods (4 each).

Then identify and use one creative and one critical methods (do the creative first) to assist in the development of creative design ideas. Describe, draw visualisations and use annotations to help create new ideas and then evaluate them

Remember it’s not a bad thing to ditch an idea at this stage. If it’s not right then put it aside and keep going. Remember what MJ says…