A recent study, “In Need of Creative Mobile Service Ideas? Forget Adults and Ask Young Children,” indicates that young children between the ages of 7 and 12 are the absolute best place to go for creative ideation. The two qualities the researchers used to determine creativity were novelty and quality. How original is the idea? How workable and relevant is it? By and large, children had more creative, unique ideas.
One of the theories behind this abundance of creative ideas from children was that they are more imaginative because they know less about reality, and are less constrained by thinking inside the box. This is especially true when speaking about mobile or web related applications for ideas because children in the particular age group are considered “digital natives” and seem to have the perfect blend of innate knowledge about the subject and open-mindedness about its potential.
So what can we do to tap into the kid in our own brains, and attempt to recreate that inventiveness that is so present in kids?
Perhaps the most effective way to keep your “kid brain” limber is to actively work on your imagination. Some of the ways that doctors recommend in order to maintain your active imagination are to day dream, free write or keep a journal, reading more often, and pretending. Turn off the TV and read more, because it more actively engages your imagination.
Another big difference between a kid during brainstorming and an adult during brainstorming is the willingness that kids have to be wrong. Plainly spoken, kids just don’t care as much about getting the right answer the first time, or getting a “right answer” at all; they’re much more likely to play for the sake of playing, to pretend for the sake of pretending, and to try for the sake of trying. As we get older, we tend to shy away from and actively avoid the possibility that we won’t be successful the first time. However, it’s inherently difficult to be creative if you’re so focused on the possible failures. The more that we can embrace the eventuality of failure and see it as an essential facet of innovation, the closer we’ll be to tapping into our “kid brains.”
What can you do to foster more creativity and kid-like thinking in your innovation?