This week’s guest post is from Joan Koerber-Walker, MBA. Joan is Chairman of both CorePurpose, Inc and the Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation. She’s become a wonderful new member of the Brainzooming creative team via Twitter where she provides great insights under even more names than I do!

Based on the 140 character start to our interactions, I’m excited to have her share her perspectives today on what we can all learn about innovation from little kids (BTW, the photo of the cute little boy is her son Nicholas who is now 6′ 6″!):

As leaders in the adult world, we are often expected to have all the answers, such as knowing “innovation” is doing something in a new way to make life better. But when it comes to actually being innovative, anyone who has spent time with a two-year old can tell you toddlers are the real masters of innovation.

The reasons are apparent, since two-year olds:

  • Ask “Why?” – It’s the ubiquitous word in any two-year old’s vocabulary. Why do I have to do that? Why can’t I do this? Why can’t I have this? Why do I have to do it this way? Why, Why, Why….
  • Aren’t afraid of messiness – They have yet to learn you’re supposed to color within the lines or get all the food into your mouth. They think building with blocks is exciting and are rarely concerned with following the rules.
  • Find their own answers – Have you ever seen a toddler reading the manual or following instructions to solve a problem? Of course not. Unless they’re prodigies, they can’t read. Instead, they use their brains and figure out how to solve their own problems. And if they can’t do it alone, they don’t see anything wrong with asking for help.
  • Are willing to embrace new ways of doing things – Even though they have done the same thing the same way their whole life, their whole life is two years, not decades. With some coaching and lots of encouragement, they’ll readily learn and adopt new and innovative ways of doing things. And when they do, everyone benefits. Need an example? Think diapers!

So if you’re trying to be more innovative, don’t go to school on how executives in tall business buildings create strategies. Instead, find a preschooler on the floor who’s playing with building blocks and creating fun!

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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4 Responses to “Innovation Tip: Start Acting Like a Two Year Old – Guest Post from Joan Koerber-Walker”

  1. sparkica says:

    Great advice! 🙂 It’s a bit sad that we – grownups usually forget how (and why) to play 🙂

  2. Mike Brown says:

    Great to hear from you @sparkica! It is easy, unfortunately, to forget about fun and play. In Kansas City this weekend, there’s a whole outdoor festival called Jiggle Jam – music and fun for kids that adults get to come to as well. The pricing is brilliant: Kids are something like $7, but adults are $4! Just one way to encourage adults to have more fun!

  3. koerberwalker says:

    Another great thing about two-year olds is that they are – usually – willing to share what they have.

    Thanks for sharing some of the Brainzooming blog space with me!

  4. Mike Brown says:

    Thanks for sharing your expertise Joan! Looking forward to the ongoing development of our creative exchange! Mike