Lessons My Children Have Taught Me About Innovation

children and innovationAs a father of three I deal with my children daily.  My wife and I get the awesome opportunity of raising these children together and trying to make sure they turn into good people.  However, sometimes I find myself learning more from them then they do from me. Here are the lessons I learned about being innovative from my children.

Think Outside the Box

Children can come at a problem in the complete opposite way than adults would.  For instance, I would tell my children to get the toys off the floor thinking they would put them in their toy bin where I wanted them to go, however, they put them in their bed so they can play with them all night.  They solved the problem they were tasked with, but in a way that most benefited them. We don’t have to do things the same way every time.  Think outside the box and find a way that is different but most benefits you.

Ask For Help

My kids are always asking for help on tasks that I feel can easily be done by them.  “Daddy wipe my nose,” “hold my blanket,” “help me down,” etc.    All of which they have done on their own multiple times a day, but suddenly they decided they needed help.   Yes, I know they can do it, however they know with help the task at hand will be done more effectively. There have also been times when my children haven’t asked for help when they should have including changing their own diaper or clothes.  Yes, technically they did complete the task, but with less desirable results…

We have all done things in the past that we know will get the job done, however we need to allow others to help to provide a more effective way of completing the task at hand.  This will take the load off yourself and also allow for innovation to occur.

Try Again

My kids are determined to try new things every day and since they want to try everything they end up failing more than a parent would like.  For instance my children have loved to try and change their clothes as I listed above with bad results at first.  However, after some practice they can finally change their own clothes.    Regardless of the task, they get right back up and try again.  Just like with innovation, sometimes there doesn’t seem to be any success, but if we try again we can eventually figure out our problem.  It may have been hard but the success is worth it in the end.

Children might be young and naive but, sometimes you have to let go of this stubborn knowledge of how things have always been done in order to find a new way of doing something or innovating.  For me my children are leading the way in showing me how to be more innovative every single day.

This blog post is part of a series authored by IdeaScale employees. It showcases how they’re thinking about crowdsourcing and innovation as part of their daily routine. Feel free to ask questions or make comments.

This post is by Eric Mills, Information System Security Officer at IdeaScale

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