Getting creative again.

Apparently, “The average adult thinks of 3-6 alternatives for any given situation. The average child thinks of 60.” And

“Research has shown that in creativity quantity equals quality. The longer the list of ideas, the higher the quality of the final solution. The highest quality ideas appear at the end of the list.” (Linda Naiman,

I don’t know about you but I find the first quote depressing and the second liberating.

Why are we so quick to squash imaginative thinking in children? I know that they won’t always come up with entirely practicable answers to problems but must we break them of the habit of unrestricted inventiveness in the name of being “realistic”?

We end up being prone to editing ourselves – often we dismiss ideas as unworkable or silly almost instantaneously, as though embarrassed by their impracticality.

But even ideas that don’t work in themselves can lead on to something that will and, if you pay heed to the second quote and come up with loads and loads of ideas, it’s a fair bet that your brain will generate at least one interesting solution.

I also find that getting all the things that are buzzing round in my head out of it and down on a piece of paper really helps to clear my mind and relieve the stress of feeling that I have to keep it all, good or bad, in case I lose something important.

I’ve said it before, I’m a big fan of Mind Maps ( – their ability to pull ideas out of the recesses of your mind always delights me and, a bit like nesting dolls, inside each new idea there are more waiting to be found.

Tip: Before you dismiss your next “silly” idea, examine it for themes or elements that could go somewhere. Or think what the opposite might be or how another person might take it further. It could lead to something really interesting.

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