With World Creativity & Innovation week upon us I’ve been thinking of ways to celebrate! Being creative on cue can sometimes feel overwhelming so I took a step back and decided to hold a good old fashioned brainstorm session with my girls to come up with ways that we can be creative this week!
I love brainstorming! If you love making lists you’ll love it too. Brainstorming is one way of practicing divergent thinking: a way of generating several possible solutions to a problem. To be clear, divergent thinking is a technique for thinking; brainstorming is a tool used to think divergently.
Divergent thinking is a thought process or method used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions.
Me: “We’re going to brainstorm ideas!” V: “What’s a brainstorm?”
Explaining how to brainstorm to a five year old is tricky. I kept it simple and explained that we would be coming up with a lot of ideas and we would choose our favourites later so we don’t need to decide if we like them or not just yet.
The General Rules of Brainstorming
- Focus on quantity. The more ideas the better. “Quantity breeds quality.”
- Withhold criticism. Defer judgment of ideas so that participants feel free to generate unusual ideas. Focus on adding ideas, not evaluating them.
- Welcome wild and unusual ideas. Think big. Think differently. New ways of thinking is encouraged and could provide better solutions so don’t hold back.
- Combine and improve ideas. Build on ideas by combining to form a better single idea or simply add to what has already been provided.
Okay, our experience…
We kept the problem simple: “What are some creative activities we could work on this week?” The way the question is phrased is important. Having typed that out I just realized that had I phrased it “In what ways might we celebrate Creativity Week?” our ideas would likely have gone in a completely different direction! … Throw a party! Make a cake! I’ll have to give that further thought next time.
I went into this with the best of intentions. Having worked in a creative field and having attended a CPSI conference I recognize the value of practicing divergent thinking and I figure it’s never too early to practice this with my daughters. Well.. they had a different idea about what they wanted to do…
E was enthralled with the brainstorming ‘tools’… Okay, she’s only two... 🙂
… and I lost V when she decided to start working on her creative idea… 🙂
.. but I carried on with the brainstorm and V jumped in from time to time approving or disapproving of ideas (we need to work on withholding judgement!) and adding some of her own. (The squiggled post it notes are the ideas she chose to write herself. When I asked her what they said she replied: “You just can’t read my writing, can you??”)
That was our first family brainstorm! I’m sure the first of many to come.
In what ways might you celebrate Creativity & Innovation week?