Critical thinking has many definitions, mostly applied to the field of education. Critical thinking, as defined to the business world is best defined as:
"the process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information to reach an answer or conclusion" - Wikipedia
Key words in the definition would be:
Team members need to actively evaluate and synthesize information to form a conclusion.
CREATIVE THINKING vs. CRITICAL THINKING
Often, creative types, like design or marketing people say they are 'creative'; therefore, can not be critical thinkers. Creative people generate ideas or products, and critical thinkers are analytical in nature. Can they live in the same organization?
I think creative and critical thinking can co-exist - - they are two halves of the whole. A business organization needs both.
CAN SOMEONE BE BOTH A CREATIVE AND CRITICAL THINKER
I believe yes. It just takes using different parts of the brain. If you create things, you need to be able to synthesize inputs to create. If you come to a conclusion, you have created something (a conclusion).
Embrace both sides of yourself - your creative side and your critical thinking side. Exercise both parts equally and each part (creative and critical) will become stronger.
David Haynes, PMP, is Director of Consulting at Ideate, Inc. (www.ideateinc.com). David's experience is in providing companies with business process analysis and change implementation. @dhaynestech.