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December 21, 2008


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Hi Drew,
I think that your second bullet is especially important – reward kids for inventing something that exists and is successful. It's not their fault that they didn’t know that it exists, and it certainly demonstrates an ability to think properly. As long as their thinking process that got them to the idea was a sound one and not random. In general, schools and parents need to focus more on teaching their kids how to think (innovatively, logically, mathematically, or whatever…) rather than just supplying them with information tidbits.


Hello Drew,

I have to agree with the first comment. I teach capoeira to adults and children, and my experience has been that children are the ones who need the least coaching in terms of innovation, as they are still exploring what they can do with their bodies. They have less fixed ideas about what is possible...

However, I have noticed that there is a reluctance creeping in among children to use their imaginations...I think as parents and teachers we have the ability to deemphasise certain types of innovation. For example, I may try to buy a new toy rather than allow my daughter to invent a new way to use something she already has or that's just around the house...

Thanks for the thoughts,

James A. Lehman

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Joseph Gill

I personally believe that the younger you are the more innovative you are. I look at my daughter who is four and she works through a natural innovation process to come up with new ways of using everything from straws to blocks. They lack the preconceptions that we have that generally narrow our focus on how things are used. Watch any child playing and you will see innovation at work. You will find that they can innovate just about anything they are given with one major factor driving that innovation; pure entertainment.

Drew Boyd

Joseph, I tend to agree with your assessment about kids and their ability to innovate. When adults are innovating, there is usually much more at stake which takes some of the fun out of it for us. The drawback with kids is their limited amount of world knowledge. They haven't been around long enough to have large "databases" to draw from. In a fair fight, kids vs. adults, I would bet on the adults because of this factor. But the kids wouldn't be far behind!

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