How To Innovate Like A Kid
“A creative adult is a child who survived”
- Ursula K. Le Guin
By Divya Samtani | THE NEED FOR CREATIVITY in today’s world is a given. But with everyone from bankers to brain surgeons striving to be more creative in the workplace, it’s become clear to me that what adults are so eagerly looking to attain, is something that kids already possess in spades.
Kids know how to have fun. They laugh, they play, they’re fully present in the moment, and they embrace life to its fullest. These are all critical ingredients for creativity that are lost sadly in adulthood, but are in fact more needed in our work today than ever before.
So regardless of what you do or where you’re from, here are my Top 5 tips from kids to kick-start those creative sparks.
Just Imagine What’s the first thing you think of when it comes to kids? For me, it’s their sheer ingenuity and resourcefulness. It’s their inventive ability to turn dirt into gourmet goods, furniture into dramatic fortresses, and even themselves into elaborate products of their own imagination. They see the miraculous in the mundane, crafting extraordinary scenarios and connections in a way that allows them to flex their creative muscle on a daily basis.
Get Messy If there’s one things kids thankfully don’t have, it’s the futile desire for perfectionism that adults foster as they grow older. Without the neat, rigid mental structures to hinder their creative flow, kids are free to discover the world through random sources of inspiration and an uninhibited passion for play. Their eagerness to explore divergent and original ideas without judgement is what cultivates the essence of their creativity.
Be Simple Kids say the darndest things. Their simple yet perceptive attention allows them to see the world as it is, and to reflect back precisely what they see. In doing so, they often hit on core truths and assumptions that we have come to accept or ignore, forcing us to evaluate our own long-held belief system through fresh eyes. This return to ‘first principles’ and experiencing life ‘as a beginner’, as Steve Jobs would say, is critical for not just creativity but true innovation.
Become A Learning Machine It’s a fact that kids are powerful learning machines. They have agile, rapidly expanding brains, and are not afraid to use them. With eyes and ears wide open, they absorb information from almost everywhere, are keen to question practically everything, and thrive in a continuous state of never-ending iteration and experimentation that allows them to grow, adapt, and flourish in any situation. Their humble willingness to learn continuously, fail fearlessly, and improve endlessly is exactly the kind of mindset that is critical to successful innovation today.
Feel Wonder Kids are alight with unbridled curiosity and fascination. As creative thinkers and playful tinkerers, they find joy and amazement in the smallest things, and are fueled by a joie de vivre that is contagious to all those around them.
By practicing our ability to be present, mindful, and receptive to moments of awe and inspiration, we open ourselves to the ‘peak experiences’ that the creative process fundamentally relies upon. Not only that, but we also breathe life and excitement back into our spirits, rekindling the creative flame that already exists dormant within all of us.
So next time you need to turn the creative tap on, don’t forget to channel that 8 year old inside of you. It may feel odd at first, but when your heart starts opening and those juices start flowing, you’ll be all the more thankful that you did.
About The Author Divya Samtani is a programmer, storyteller, and communications specialist who has worked with some of the world’s largest financial and tech organizations, helping them to define their digital media and marketing strategies. Divya is currently Head of Content and Partnerships at Mettā where she focuses on the education and empowerment of the global innovation community. www.metta.co