Innovation: Two Kinds of Thinking

The eminent Swiss psychiatrist and founder of analytical psychology, Carl Gustav Jung, identified two types of thinking – directed and non-directed (the latter originally referred to as ‘fantasy thinking’).

Directed thinking is a process whereby thoughts are directed by utilising rational and conceptual frameworks. A clear expression of directed thinking is found in science and technological developments.

Non-directed thinking is a process whereby thoughts, images, and ideas are allowed to simply manifest – a form of free association. This is the thinking process required to produce creative ideas and lateral solutions to problems.

By viewing our thinking as either directed or non-directed we can evaluate the benefits of each and how each kind of thinking can contribute to our ongoing professional/personal development. For example, if we are struggling to construct a personal vision, non-directed thinking that allows time and space for creative ideas to germinate may be of more benefit. Subsequently, we can employ directed thinking to form a strategic plan for the resulting creative ideas.

Integral Development’s Executive Coaches can help you develop the ability to deliberately employ directed and non-directed thought. For further information on directed and non-directed thinking contact

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