Start Up Blog

The ultimate innovators – kids

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on June 29, 2012

I’m starting to believe that the ultimate requirement for innovation is ignoring barriers. Not inventing rules that are not there. The second part of this thought is that we are trained over time to ‘assume the rule’ – when in actuality there is no rule.

I’ve been watching my daughter recently do little the things that I’m sure all kids do.

I play a game with my daughter where I show her how to stand on one leg. I don’t tell her what to do, I just stand on one leg…. and of course she wants to do it too because it looks like fun. And she copies me immediately. But because she has only recently learned to walk, she can’t quite manage it the way I do. So she without hesitation runs to the nearest wall, puts one hand against it to gain balance, and successfully stands on one leg. At this point she is very pleased with herself that she has managed to do it. Big smile ensues as she looks to me for approval…

And here’s the kicker… I am pleased with her too. But not in a kid like condescending way. I am seriously happy with her approach. And here’s why:

At no point was any rule given that you can’t lean against the wall. She hacked the system and got it done. I clap her and encourage her. In this instance it’s all about the objective, not the method. And the one thing I will never do is start to reduce her mind with rules that just aren’t there.

What we should do with our startup is innovate like kids do. Ignore how the bigger, more resource laden and older incumbents do things, and just hack for a result.

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