As life becomes more serious, creative thinking can be trickier to tap into. One day your child will no longer see a trumpet or pirate spyglass when they hold the inside of a loo roll – they’ll just see recycling. But you can help your child train to be a creative thinker their whole life. Here are a few tips (which will also work for you) based on Freaky Thinking, a process that boosts a person’s preferred way of thinking to help the creative process become second nature.
Find the best where
One of the most challenging locations for creative thinking to take place is at a desk or table with a notepad and pen in front of us. Research has proven that performing some kind of undemanding task produces better thinking. This could be walking the dog, taking a bath or shower, even doing chores about the house. It needs to be a light activity that doesn’t occupy us completely.
Find the best when
There are morning people and there are evening people. Finding the best time for us is key to accessing our most creative thinking. There's no point in your child trying to do good thinking when they're feeling tired.
Choose where to focus
We need to have a focus for our thinking on the topic we want to address. This is called our killer question. This is an important, enduring question that hasn't yet been answered well enough, and which will deliver significant value for us. If a killer question is too big and over-encompassing to be tackled in one go, chunk it down into component parts, and think about these individually (the how to eat an elephant strategy – one bite at a time).
Incubate ideas for later
It is a common experience that when not able to recall a small fact (like the title of a song or the name of someone we used to live next door to) when we give up and forget about remembering the detail, after a time (could be minutes or hours), the answer suddenly comes to us unbidden. This is our subconscious mind working on our unresolved issue in the background.
A similar thing happens when we are working on a killer question. Even when we are not actively thinking about the topic, our subconscious is working on it for us. Each time we come back to the question or task, our subconscious has advanced our thinking by finding a new perspective to consider, or reinterpreting an element of it in some way. Each gap in our thinking encourages subconscious incubation.
Find the Win Quicklies
Win Quicklies are ideas—or elements of a bigger idea—that can be a useful proof that something much larger has the potential for success and value. It may be the case that a number of Win Quicklies are actually more beneficial that implementing one bigger, slower-moving project. But even when that’s not the case, nothing boosts our confidence more than seeing one of our ideas delivering value. Embrace Win Quicklies.
Chris Thomason is the founder of Ingenious Growth which helps organisations change their thinking to boost innovation, productivity, profits and most importantly, staff satisfaction. After buying a failing manufacturing company and turning it into one of the largest in its sector, Chris now teaches the innovative ways of thinking that lead to his business success. Chris is author of eight business books including The Idea Generator, Freaky Thinking, and Excellence in Freaky Thinking.