Want to be more innovative? Let your inner kid shine!
With the recent birth of my new baby, Norah in late March, I’ve been spending an extraordinary amount of time at home with my family (thanks to my awesome partners, Bob and Dianne who have afforded me the opportunity to do so).
Besides the glorious newborn feeding, changing and foot nibbling, I’ve also been fortunate to share many hours with my witty, confident, creative 4.5 year old Jack (in case you didn’t know, 4.5 is NOT the same as 4). This extra time with him in conversation, and observing him playing has inspired me share with you what I’ve learned from the kiddos over the past few months (and years) that serve as a reminder to us all on how embracing our inner kid can fuel innovation and creativity. And make us happier.
- Young kids aren’t afraid of failure. Don’t squash your own creative spirit. Next time you have an idea, write it down, run with it, share it with a friend. Don’t be afraid to explore what could be. When my son has an idea he proclaims to the entire neighborhood, finger in air and all: “I have an idea!” Then promptly gets on it. Unless of course his mom is watching and it includes riding anything with wheels without a helmet.
- Lighten up. Laugh a little (or a lot!). I recently read that kids laugh an average of 400 times a day. Adults? A mere 15. Laughing is healthy. It relieves stress and makes you more fun to be around. It’s contagious. With the exception of a catastrophic event, stress hinders creativity and innovation.
- Live in the moment. Put down your i-Phone for a minute. Great ideas happen when you are really thinking, focusing and embracing the moment you are in.
- Make new friends outside of your usual circle. On our way to the playground my son always tells me how he hopes he can make a new friend there. Imagine if we all embraced this approach and made an effort to get to know new people who can teach us something.
- Try something new. Nearly everything is new to a little one. New experiences open our minds and hearts and renew our spirits. Try something new, whether it is a new food, sport or just a different way to work. Or, take a different approach to something you are already doing. You’ll be surprised at the results.
- Remember what it feels like to create. As designer David Kelley highlights in his TED Talk (link below), all kids are creative but at some point our society has convinced us that we are either the “creative type” or “analytical type”. Reject this. Take yourself back to a time when you created something you were really proud of.
Got 11 minutes and 47 seconds? Check out this TED talk on “Regaining your Creative Confidence” by designer David Kelley.
Also, we’re in the midst of developing a glowing monthly e-newsletter, the Innovation Digest, that will inspire leaders with cutting edge strategies for the social good. We will publish the inaugural issue in just a weeks and it will light up your inbox. Subscribe on our homepage.
In short: be deliberate in letting your inner kid shine. The results will surprise you.
What else can we learn from our children that will inspire our work?