We lose creativity with age: how to nurture your childlike creativity in business meetings

work meeting

How does the ability to come up with new, innovative ideas change as we grow older? Childlike creativity is often seen as something we leave behind as we make the transition from childhood into adulthood.

But is this really a good thing? When we enter adulthood, we’re expected to act and conduct ourselves in a certain way. But while we’re busy doing this, we forget about an important component that allows us to form new and innovative ideas and view problems in a different light. Sad but true, creativity is lost as we get older. The good news is, with care and focus we’re able to reignite our creative spark as we grow older. By using a range of tools and techniques, you’ll be able to nurture your childlike creativity in your career to enable you to be more innovative and productive.

Think withoutthe box

As we grow older and lose creativity over time, it’s easy for people to assume they’re ‘just not the creative type’. Just like a muscle that’s never been exercised, or a sport that hasn’t played for a while, creativity can also deteriorate as we age, especially as we progress through our careers. As adults, our ideas become confined within strong and rigid boxes and we’re taught to think outside the box.

But what if this box was removed entirely, and wasn’t there to begin with? Young children can invent original solutions to problems because they are not bound by the methodologies of adulthood. During your next business meeting, remove all of the boxes that disrupt you from being creative.

Instead of conforming to these boxed boundaries, be creative with your solutions to business problems. Just like a sport that you haven’t played for a while, creativity also needs practice. With the combination of removing the ‘box’ and practicing your childlike creativity, you’ll be able to discover new knowledge and fresh ideas in all of your business meetings.

Allow time for your ideas to thrive

Creativity is now seen as a sought after skill for employees.  Increasing digitalization and productivity pressures are causing businesses to rethink everything, even the skills their employees have.

Did you know that new ideas are embraced when creativity is granted time to thrive and grow? If you’re leading a business meeting with employees, ensure you give your team creative freedom to think of new ideas. Allow your team to think individually to begin with, and then work as a team to bring all of their creativity and innovation to the table.

Once ideas have been shared, why not collect them in the form of a colourful Mind Map? More commonly referred to as a spider diagram during childhood and school, a Mind Map is a visual technique that helps enable individuals to explore ideas and draw new connections that they wouldn’t have been able to with standard techniques.

What once was seen as a technique used by children to explore topics they learned at school, it is now adopted by businesses worldwide to encourage more creativity and innovation during their business meetings.

In the Mind Map, you can use shapes, colours and add images to help enhance your ideas and make them more memorable. Think of your Mind Map as a doodle, and let your ideas flourish.

Don’t fear mistakes

As a quote by author Stephen Shapiro (2003) once said, ‘Creativity is therefore not learned, but rather unlearned’.  Think about it; how many hours at school did you actually dedicate to learning creativity? A few? None? Most of us learn creativity outside of the classroom. We’re taught at school to memorise the right answers, and are afraid of being wrong. We’re ‘untaught’ to think for ourselves, find new solutions and answers.

Similarly, we learn that mistakes are wrong and this fear impacts our ability to express ourselves in a brave or unconventional way. Be confident and be wrong. Studies suggest that the more confident you are in the wrong answer, the better chance you have in remembering the right answer.

Use Pablo Picasso, the Spanish artist and painter, for example, ‘It took me four years to paint like Raphael but a lifetime to paint like a child.’ Keep your mindset open, excited and curious when you’re in a business meeting.

By looking at different things in a new light you’ll be able to explore creative, new ideas. Whether they are right or wrong will yet be defined, but just imagine what you could create when you break down the boundaries and stop fearing mistakes.

To learn more about how to foster your childlike creativity, read The Creative Thinking Handbook by Melina Costi and Chris Griffiths for tips and best practices for how to creatively solve problems in business. Available now to buy via Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Creative-Thinking-Handbook-Step-Step/dp/0749484667

Chris Griffiths

Chris Griffiths

Chris Griffiths is founder and CEO of OpenGenius, and a world-leading expert on innovation. Follow him on Twitter or LinkedIn.
Chris Griffiths

Chris Griffiths is founder and CEO of OpenGenius, and a world-leading expert on innovation. Follow him on Twitter or LinkedIn.