We often lament that today’s kids are too exposed to visual media via television, mobiles, tablets, gaming and gadgets that they are devoid of creative ability, thinking and innovation. Moreover, Artificial Intelligence is changing the way machines have helped humans in the past. Smarter robots and machines will soon replace humans in most of the jobs by automation.
So, how can humans adapt to these changes and hold their own in the rapidly changing world or work? We humans are better at creativity, critical thinking and have human qualities of being empathetic. Technology also plays a key role in developing sustained interest in learning through creativity.
How You Can Develop Your Creative Thinking
First, let us look at what creativity is. As is often believed, it is not just something related only to the arts, music or dance. Creativity involves imagination, thinking and creating. With new thoughts and ideas, creativity helps you create new things in order to improve existing things.
Can it be learnt? Yes. Creative thinking focuses on exploring new ideas and various options and possibilities in order to solve a given problem. While our current education system focuses on developing critical thinking skill which is convergent (analytical and logical thinking, focusing on elimination of incorrect solutions and arriving at the correct one), creative thinking skill involves divergent thinking (solving problems with many possible solutions). Both kinds of thinking are interdependent and work together in our brains. Creative thinking skills can also be learnt with practice.
Let us look at few of the ways you can practice creative thinking skills:
- If you see anything that can be made better, imagine ways of doing so.
- Think of new ideas to improve upon situations you encounter for which currently no solution exists.
- If there is a manual task that is difficult, think of ways in which you can use technology to enable automating parts or all of it.
- It is important for you to know that creativity is also an attitude.
- Accept changes and be willing to try new ideas and work on improving existing ones.
- Do not tell yourself that you are not creative or that you cannot do it. Everyone
- Do not get stressed when faced with a new problem. Face them as new opportunities that are challenging.
- You have to learn to question assumptions. What you assume that you know, maybe something that you don’t really know well.
- Brainstorming will help you learn to ask the right questions. Listen to others’ questions and reflect on them as well.
- Be curious and explore and learn new things.
- Recognize and explain patterns, find meaning and interpret facts, apply knowledge and use information in new situations.
- Take initiatives and allow yourself to make mistakes. This will spur your creativity.
- Learn from your failures and treat them as opportunities to learn new things.
- Discuss your mistakes and come up with new ideas to avoid the same mistakes.
- Creativity involves patience. You have to learn to slow down and not be in a hurry to find solutions.
- Persevere and work hard to follow through with your ideas.
- You have to give your time, energy, effort and focus in order to be creative.
Learn Through Play
- Use innovative ways and even technology to learn creatively.
- Doing puzzles, games, riddles, quizzes and designing as well as representing information through painting or drawing are ways you can make learning new things interesting.
- In order to solve problems creatively, you have to learn to move away from traditional textbook based rote learning, and try hands-on practical methods.
- Do not judge other ideas and criticize always.
- Be open-minded and willing to explore new ideas.
- Adapt to new changes in plans and accept mishaps that may take place.
- While copying existing ideas might be useful temporarily, it is better to be original and develop your own ideas for any problem.
- It is ok for you to learn from others by observing their actions and ways of working. But copying their work and producing results will not help you sustain in the long term.
- Try to avoid Googling as the very first step when you have to come up with solutions. Think and write down your thoughts and ideas and then research using whatever resources are available to you.
You will see that, with constant practice of imagining new ways, applying knowledge and developing new ideas, improving existing solutions with newer improved versions and accepting failures to learn from them, you will develop your creative thinking skills.