A child-like personality in a professional world!

To be honest, cracking the eggs wasn’t the activity I was waiting for each Easter. Instead, I remember how fun it was to simply paint my Easter eggs when I was a kid. Literally, I could spend hours decorating them with my ‘special’ crafting kit that made me feel like a professional artist.

Figure 1. Easter Eggs Emoji Version

Now that I’m older, I continuously hear the quote “Never forget your inner child” and definitely, Easter was the perfect occasion to bring it back to my mind… but how can we avoid letting go our child-like personality in a professional context? Creativity is the answer.

How to professionally exercise our inner child-like creativity?

1. Use cool innovation methodologies

There are many innovation methodologies that could serve as a tool depending on the stage and complexity of the project. However, in my personal experience, gamification can be way too fun for the one who is developing the idea and additionally for the end user.

The use of game mechanics and experience design to engage and motivate people to achieve their goals. (e.g. point scoring, competition with others, rules of play, etc.)

Definitely trying to find a way to include game elements into your solution, challenges creativity and as a result, it can increase the probability of having a stronger engagement. Remember that this technique isn’t exclusive for kids. Adults also enjoy finding fun activities using game elements as incentives. For example, a Stockholm’s metro station was so crowded that they needed to find a way people would be interested in using the staircase instead of the escalator to ease the bottleneck. Painting piano stairs that make musical sounds with every footstep was enough to fix the traffic. People preferred to have 30 seconds of fun rather than being annoyed while waiting to use the escalator. [1]

2. Brainstorm knowing there is no wrong or right answer

It’s important to have in mind that brainstorming seeks to find ideas in general, not the ‘right’ one. Surprisingly, even crazy ideas can turn to be the best ones. Feel free to share any thoughts that might come to mind during the session.

Once I read that this technique should be seen as a Japanese-style input (Edward De Bono, Six Thinking Hats)[2]. On one hand, we sometimes see the process as a “marble sculpture”, which starts with a broad block and then crave it down to get the end product. This turns the brainstorming session into arguing through different points of view to see which one survives the criticism and which one attracts the most adherents. On the other hand, the “clay sculpture” is a process in which pieces of clay are placed and molded to get the final output. Can you see the difference? At the end of the day we want to have the result of the addition of the top ideas instead of getting rid of many of them without fundamentals.

Have fun during the session. Bring your inner child to the room and help him/her share their creativity. In case your are having trouble with it, I would like to recommend a technique called Forced Relationship Method. This tool aims to link two or more concepts that seem to be random to each other. Then, you’ll need to start to merge the characteristics of each to obtain something new. For example, a notebook and a dog… random, right? But I bet the animal has lots of characteristics that you’ll never have thought to include in a new notebook such as an interesting furry texture on its cover or a new standing position to facilitate the writing. Believe me, you will enjoy the brainstorm and lots of crazy ideas will easily come to the table.

3. Be willing to discover

Kids start to grow older and their capacity to absorb information and replicate behaviors is amazing. As adults, we should be willing to do the same in a filtered manner. Each one of us has a different ability or method on how to learn. Identify it as soon as possible in order to take advantage of this ability.

Also, I’ve noticed that people are sometimes insecure about asking or not knowing about something. That’s exactly the opportunity to learn! Internet is full of knowledge, articles, and even TikToks where you could learn an infinite variety of things. Actually, simply asking shouldn’t bother anyone. Children’s innocence has contributed to think outside-the-box and their fresh mindsets are constantly surprising others.

At the end of the day, what I want to express is that we should have fun. Not because we are starting to become adults, means that fun should be left out of the equation. There are many ways in which we could invite our child-like personality to the professional world! Pump amusing creativity in your daily working life.

P.S. Happy Easter!

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lXh2n0aPyw

[1] https://www.kiwico.com/blog/2015/11/03/brainstorming-3-easy-ways-to-engage-kids/#:~:text=Parents%20and%20teachers%20often%20use,orally%20or%20in%20written%20format.
[2] https://www.ideastogo.com/articles-on-innovation/why-you-should-have-a-child-like-imagination-and-the-research-that-proves-it
[3] https://www.growthengineering.co.uk/definition-of-gamification/