Young kids naturally seem to come up with creative ideas. They don’t evaluate the ideas, or stop to think if they’ll work, or worry about whether they’re wrong. They just say whatever pops into their head. As far as kids are concerned, every problem can be solved. Perhaps with a little help from their favorite super-hero.
So why does something so natural for kids become so un-natural as adults? As adults, our experiences of what “can” and “can’t” be done affect how we see the world. We surround ourselves with rules & regulations. We learn that being wrong can lead to rejection. So although we have more years of experience, we find it hard to defer judgement long enough to give ideas a chance.
So next time you’re looking for creative ideas, try thinking like a kid again. Three tips …
- Pretend you’re a super-hero, or an animal, or an alien. What would they do? What ideas would they come up with?
- Pretend you’re 7 years old. What ideas (no matter how wild) would you have to tackle the problem, knowing it can be solved? Can these wild ideas be turned into good ideas?
- Imagine an ideal solution to your problem and then work backwards to overcome obstacles; chances are you’ll be far more creative than if you start by looking forward with all the obstacles ahead of you
“To stimulate creativity, one must develop the childlike inclination for play” (Einstein)