How Ironhack made my convergent & divergent muscles grow

Aranzazu del Castillo Figueruelo
3 min readAug 23, 2019
Photo by lucas clarysse on Unsplash

Nine weeks ago, I was starting my studies in UX / UI design at Ironhack Barcelona. One of the many things I learned that week was that people have two types of muscles in their brains: convergent and divergent muscles. As a psychologist, I used to call these muscles differently. For me, they were “skills”, but it was harder to imagine how they could be trained and improved.

Everybody has convergent and divergent muscles, but normally one is more developed than others. Divergent muscles are in charge of the creative process. They help you to think outside of the box and try many different possibilities. Convergent muscles are responsible for making decisions according to some specific criteria. From many varied ideas, you have to go to a single final one.

Working on projects and getting my hands dirty with them has helped me a lot to understand the meaning and purpose of these important muscles. In the beginning, because of my personality and my background, I had very strong convergent muscles. Now, after 9 weeks and 8 design projects, I feel that my muscles are more balanced.

When does a designer need these muscles?

Convergence and divergence are present along the whole design process. They work in turns and the transition between them is soft and sometimes imperceptible. It’s easier to understand this if we take into account the “Double Diamond” Design Process Model.

When you start a design project, you have to discover, which means research, understand the problem, get to know your users, their needs and goals. This step needs a divergent mindset.

Then you move to a definition phase where the goal is converging and summarizing what you have researched in the previous phase. If you don’t define the problem and the context properly, solutions are going to be unspecific and useless.

Don’t worry, now is turn to diverge again. Let your mind fly and think without restrictions. The rule is quantity, variety, and postposition of judgment. Don’t let the judgment cut you off.

Finally, one more time, you need to converge and arrive at a real conclusion and a real product that solves your users’ needs. This part is essential if you want to deliver on time. Let the people see your wonderful ideas!

This Bootcamp has given me many opportunities to make these muscles grow. However, my goal is to keep them fit. As I love challenges, I’m planning to join the most challenging projects. But, let’s be honest, after an intense workout, all muscles need to be stretched and relaxed. Let’s take a deserved break and start soon full of energy

Photo by Love Maldives on Unsplash

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