There's hope after all

Do you know how long it takes to create, design, prototype, and manufacture a "rocking motorcycle trike bike"? All of about 5 minutes if you're my daughter and you've got some free time on a Friday afternoon. Her building material of choice? Tinker Toys.

There are a few concepts that one can take away from the experience of watching a preschooler create and innovate:

  1. Innovation stems from freedom of worry (aka "Happy hearts make a fertile ground for creativity"). This afternoon, my daughter experienced an environment with two key ingredients: intentional time alone and a box of TinkerToys. Wonderful things happen when you just spend time tinkering and not worrying about the rest of the goings-on in the world.

  2. Enormous smiles of delight spawn from spontaneous creativity. You should have seen her smile when she came up to me--keep in mind that I was washing dishes, of all things--and said, "Dad, look I made a rocking motorcycle trike bike!" She then proceeded to tell me all about how it works and how her stuffed animals can take turns zooming around town.

  3. Creativity is likely to occur when that's all that's expected. My wife and I didn't tell her to go sit down and make something...she just did it on her own. We didn't give her the parameters of evaluation before, during, or after her time of creating. Is it okay to sometimes set NO evaluations in the innovative workplace? Absolutely! Is it more difficult to do performance evaluations in an innovative workplace? Double absolutely! But, which is more important--objective performance evaluations or creative problem-solving among the employees? My ROI money is on the creative problem-solvers.

  4. Creativity breeds more creativity. After she showed me her creation, both of us began discussing how we could change the initial design to better accommodate her various sizes of stuffed animals. She took it even further and created follow-on products that utilized the basic design elements of the "trike". At the end of the evening, she had created other products which included a "soaring car", a "swingset", and a "monkey bar that's got sliders".

I loved being a part of this today...aren't Fridays great?!?

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