Divergent Thinking: A Creative Approach to Problem-Solving

Last August, the staffing software company Avionté launched “Divergent Thinking”: a 13-week class designed for Avionté employees to develop skills in creative thinking and problem-solving.

“If we treat our staffing firm customers and employees right, we’ll be successful,” Avionté’s CEO John Long said when announcing the class roll-out. “Avionté is very interested in helping all of you succeed, both at work and at home. And while there is no one size fits all approach, I believe a common thread in this is developing skills around divergent and creative thinking. The ability to see a problem, understand it, and find solutions for it.”

A small group (pictured at top left) kicked off the Divergent Thinking initiative in early fall by coming up with a new mission statement for Avionté and by further developing the class’ structure and “curriculum”. Each new group of “Avionté Divergents” begins their 13-week class by reviewing the steps of Divergent Thinking and then identifying how they could apply them to problem-solving at Avionté. Once ideas begin to flow, the group works to apply their knowledge towards creative solutions to tackling some of the common problems faced by fast-growing businesses.

Each new group consists of opt-in employees representative of most, if not all, departments of Avionté. The class often offers unique off-site opportunities and in-office learning. Two Divergent groups have met so far and Divergent 3.0 will start up later this year.

After some discussion, group two (Divergent 2.0) decided to apply divergent thinking towards creating a smother and more well-rounded onboarding process for new hires as they are learning the ins and outs of Avionté’s front and back office staffing software solution.

“Our product and culture are made up of a lot of moving parts, so we’re focusing on helping new employees retain information while giving veteran employees and opportunity to expand on their skills,” said Avionté’s Technical Writing Manager Tony Poetz, part of Divergent 2.0. “The focus on training increases product accuracy, decreases employee turnover and ultimately improves our service to customers.”

The group has already begun work on numerous initiatives as part of their onboarding process revamp, including initiating a “buddy system” for new hires, creating a more concrete four-week training schedule and determining a list of job-specific module topics to build off from for ongoing employee learning, based on each employee’s unique interests and skill needs. The group said they feel a new onboarding process will help recruiting initiatives at Avionté, as well as increasing retention.

The Divergent Thinking initiative has already led to many positive changes within Avionté. Stay tuned for more creative ideas and approaches to problem-solving from the Avionté team!

Employees from Divergent 2.0 and Divergent 3.0 group up after work for a Minnesota Timberwolves game at the Target Center in March, 2016.

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