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  • Writer's pictureallisonjolester

A Helping Hand for Creative Roadblocks: Empowering Young Innovators



Hey there, teaching trailblazers! Have you ever had a group of students, their eyes wide with excitement, ready to tackle the world, only to see their enthusiasm evaporate when it's time to get creative? It's like asking them to climb Mount Everest in flip-flops.

Not to worry, I've got some tips and tricks to reignite those creative fires during the crucial Ideate phase of Design Thinking.


1. Lead with Silly: The ‘Absurd Idea’ Warm-up

Before diving into the ideation session, host a warm-up round where they have to come up with the most outrageous solutions. Like a backpack that turns into a jetpack for those times when the bus is late. This takes the pressure off and opens the door to out-of-the-box thinking. The main point? Fun, fun, fun!


2. Steal Like an Artist: Find Inspiration Everywhere

If they're stumped, remind your students that it's perfectly okay to draw inspiration from the world around them. Encourage them to think about their favorite gadgets, games, or even fantasy books. What can they borrow, adapt, or remix from these sources?


3. Break it Down: The Power of SCAMPER

Introduce them to SCAMPER, a useful acronym that can trigger ideas:

  • Substitute something

  • Combine it with something else

  • Adapt something to it

  • Modify or magnify it

  • Put it to some other use

  • Eliminate something

  • Reverse or rearrange it

Let them apply each action to the problem. You'll be amazed at how this simple tool can spawn fresh ideas!


4. The Magic of Mashups: Mix, Match, and Mutate

Ask your students to think of two unrelated items or ideas and try to combine them into a solution. A clock and a plant. A pencil and a drone. A backpack and a toaster. You'd be surprised at the ideas that these weird and wonderful combinations can ignite.


5. Play the 'What If' Game

A tried and true creativity booster is the 'What If' game. Prompt them with a 'What If' scenario. What if the school was on the moon? What if pencils could talk? These far-out scenarios can lead to interesting, out-of-this-world ideas.


And remember, my fellow educators, the key is to make the process enjoyable. When we infuse fun into the ideation phase, we show our students that creativity isn't something to be scared of, but a playful, engaging, and empowering part of problem-solving.

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