Saturday, May 19, 2018

“When in doubt, ask a child...”

Two great lessons I learned in life occurred serendipitously. 

Part of my research in Brussels in 1999 with EU businesses and institutions, seeking factors of creativity and innovation leading to business success in startups in particular, was to interview the leadership of a team of researchers facilitating watching children interact with and through technology. I later witnessed myself the frustration of the 2-3 years old trying to figure out why the DOS/Win laptop was not touch screen... The team was taking notes originating ideas that we as adults were not seeing due to our already established anchors coming with our prior learning. The work never fully made it into my Ph.D. thesis or the two theses for certificates in European affairs. My own child treated her 2006 laptop as touch screen because the car GPS was already so. Touch revolutionized every devise eventually. The team I mention didn't originate the ideas though. Did they keep and originated any other ideas from their list? Maybe funding was cut & the center closed:(

I write a list of things I did not use sufficiently in research over time. I parse it for inspiration for future projects. I share them.

Minds of children are anchor free.

What's on your list? What have you learned recently from a child or children?

I used to say as a result of this little lesson: "When in doubt ask a child. It turns out we have one handy at all times. It is us. Earlier on. Before we were taught it cannot be done." You are thus absolutely right. Self observation it is, if it works. Let's remember in the alternative what the master did. As he aged Edison adopted a street child in his teens and made him his senior assistant who was always pointing out to Edison the question "why not?" I always saw that as even the master loosing his spirit from his own teen years and needing a boost of teen "can do attitude." 

Today we may call that coaching.;)

Adrian S. Petrescu, Ph.D., J.D.
Chief Future Architect, InnovationTrek
We got here. What's next?
Accelerate Innovation. 
In companies and self.
Grow flow. Naturally.

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