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Take some advice from your younger self…

by | Jul 11, 2016

So what does being 7 years old have in common with creativity?

Turns out quite a lot. In June we were lucky enough to be asked to run one of our Creative Ninja sessions for a group of 70 PR specialists at the inaugural PR Fest in Edinburgh and we all had lots of fun exploring this theme.

One of the exercises we sometimes ask people to do to get their creative juices flowing is to draw someone next to them – just for playful fun. Thanks to Kenny McDonald (@MarComsKenny) for sharing his drawing – ‘I’m looking good’.

Creativity and play are closely linked. We then ask them to consider and explore what was it like to be seven? How did we approach creativity back then? What enabled us and what disabled us?

In amongst the hilarity of sharing our pictures and being in touch with our inner child people also discovered there were some real clues to be found in a seven year old’s approach creativity.

Enablers? And the disablers?
Innocence Judgement and criticism
Curiosity Needing to conform
Natural energy Rules
Playing and having fun Competition
Freedom Punishment
Lack of self-consciousness Expectations
‘I can do anything’ ‘What will other people think?’

Interestingly, this is backed up by a study quoted by our creativity hero Sir Ken Robinson (of most watched Ted Talk fame) where they identified the key attributes for genius. They measured kindergarten children against these attributes and found 98% of them scored as genius. They measured them again when they were 8-10 years old and it had dropped by half to 50% Five years later it was even lower. It’s highly likely that some of the disablers that are listed above had come into play affecting their genius score. And it’s worth considering too – how they might be affecting your very own genius score.

Here’s some of the creative mantras PRFest folks took away for themselves:

And my personal favourite “I am looking forward to setting my 7 year old free – she’s been quiet too long.”

Maybe your inner genius is alive and well and just needs a little enabling (and less disabling) so what advice would your inner seven year old have for YOU when it comes to unleashing your creative self? Read more about creativity and play on our blog here.

Written by leadership expert Elizabeth Lovius who runs our brilliant brainstorm training. If you’re interested in Now Go Create speaking at your event or running a workshop please get in touch with lucy@nowgocreate.co.uk

Don’t let your organization’s creative potential go untapped. Join our small, residential creative leaders programme to up your creative confidence and learn how to lead a culture of creativity underpinned by well-researched principles and methods. Find out more here.