When was the last time that you built something with your hands or attempted to do a creative project? As children, we had endless opportunities to be creative – from art projects for school, creating epic crayon art on the walls of our bedrooms to building spectacular structures with Lincoln Logs or Legos. Our lives were filled with creative moments, ones that unfortunately have seemed to fade as we age. When we factor in the technology that is in our lives, we seem to be exchanging creative opportunities with interactions on a tablet or phone no matter how old we are. Some parents are seeing the potential risks of technology and are making changes, raising their children tech-free. But why?

Succeeding in our careers requires many skills, but consistently, complex problem-solving has landed within the top-10 skills to possess. Research has shown that problem solving starts as a child and is linked to how curious we are about the world around us. This curiosity fuels creative moments that sharpen our problem-solving skills. Betsy Roe wrote, “Creativity expands our perceptions and along with expanded perceptions come new ways of problem solving–from making an exquisite meal when you don’t know how to cook to painting an extraordinary landscape when you are living in a freezing attic and can’t afford a full box of paints.”

Being creative is critical to becoming and remaining a skilled problem solver.Click To Tweet

This doesn’t mean you need to take up a fine-arts class or decide to cook a 5-course meal for the first time. It can begin through simple, creative moments during the day, without our devices.

At the digital team within Padilla, we bring these creative moments to our projects, engaging our clients into the problem-solving process, without technology. Created by IDEO and leveraged by most of the innovative companies we think of, design thinking places our teams into the world of our users, solving challenges with nothing more than a pen and paper. Often times solving problems without technology breeds solutions that improve the digital world we live in.

Next time you’re driving to work, see if you can identify 3 things you see that could be improved, no matter how trivial they might be. If Uber or Lyft is more your style, ask the driver what made them decide to do that line of work. Ask what frustrates them and how it could be solved. Be curious around other people. If you find yourself complaining about something, turn it into a challenge and ask yourself why it’s a problem. Ask why three times until you arrive at the core issue. Now, think how you would solve it.

These creative exercises tap into a part of our brain, the Frontal Lobe, that hones our problem-solving ability.  So, when you have the urge to grab that phone and check Instagram or that push notification from your favorite news outlet, walk outside and be curious about the world we live in. Finish that project that you’ve been putting off. Grab some crayons and be a kid again. As Pablo Picasso once said: “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist after he grows up.”

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