When dealing with matters at work, most people would likely say they try to handle things with a professional, mature mindset. However, it could be possible that this highly structured way of trying to manage things could be stifling the creativity and more erratic thought processes that could be used to create a stand-out business model.
‘Thinking Like a Child’ Yields More Creativity
Studies are now picking up on an interesting effect that occurs when a question is posed to a group of adults, when they are told to consider it as a child might. From Darya Zabelina and Michael Robinson’ paper “Child’s Play,” to a demonstration at the 2012 International Congress and Convention Association, these experiments are showing that adults who are given a question and told to think like children come up with more creative answers than those who are simply asked the question.
Thinking like a child seems to unlock the mind; the focus shifts from wanting to sound impressive and professional, to a more open-minded, freeing creative plane. Without the fear of saying something silly or wrong, the mind is left to explore all the possibilities, and a person may feel allowed to bring up an idea that they would otherwise not voice for fear of being shot down. Released from the judgment one so often faces in the professional world, the resulting thoughts can be surprising, fresh and effective.
While thinking like a child boosts creativity, it also embraces simplicity. It allows brainstorming to be done without the overwhelming weight of considering just how everything will fit into the budget or timeline or marketing plan, that can easily crush out-of-the-box ideas in favor of those that are more predictable and traditional, though more lackluster.
How This Can Affect You Professionally
When used as a brainstorming or planning technique, thinking like a child can be a great way to stir up fresh ideas, relieve thought-freezing pressure or allow unusual concepts to be explored. For those looking to develop a product, manage an event or develop a marketing strategy, this can be a valuable tool, as part of creating a successful product, event or brand is making it stand out in its field.
Thinking like a child may not allow you to fully develop a complete working solution; after all, if it did, the world’s top companies would be run by 4- to 10-year-olds. However by taking the open-minded, non-judgmental, earnest creative approach of a young mind and tempering it with the experience, knowledge and practicality of a more mature mind, more creative and effective ideas and solutions may be found.
Highly creative ideas are in high demand in today’s world. It may be time for you to start using this technique in meetings, to break up stagnant discussion of facts and issues to be solved, and start opening the door to the generation of real ideas.
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