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Creativity tip: ask a four year old

>> 28 November 2010

What better and simpler way to get fresh ideas than to ask other people?

In business terms we tend to call this brainstorming: we sit in a room and discuss the same topic, bounce things off each other in the hope of coming up with that one bright idea that will make our project sky rocket.

Some serious research however suggests that most brainstorming sessions fail to achieve exactly that.

Also, brainstorming the way we know it requires a small group of people, which you don't always have around when you need it.

So one day, when I needed some ideas and didn't have a willing group of brainstormers handy, I used the closest thing to it... my children.

Seth Godin has very simple advice on how to raise your children:

  • ask them to solve complicated problems, and
  • teach them to be leaders
I am taking that at heart and whenever I need to get some creative input, I ask my children all sorts of adult and complicated questions.

Like how to solve the Greek debt crisis for example.
Or how to get rid of the Iceland ash cloud.

And you know what?
They are actually pretty good at solving problems and coming up with original ideas.
And you, as their parent (or aunt, or friend) know them well enough to translate their answers into usable (adult) information.

So next time you are looking for a great idea, a solution to a problem, grab yourself a 4 year old.


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