In a world driven by innovation, cultivating an ideation mindset has become more crucial than ever before.
What is innovation? Is it creativity? A sign of innovation is using an item in a different way to solve a potential problem. Or coming up with an idea that solves a problem.
Innovative thinking involves breaking free from conventional thinking and embracing a mindset that thrives on creativity and out-of-the-box solutions.
Innovation is not a fleeting concept; it's a mindset that can be nurtured and cultivated over time. It is like a muscle that keeps on needing exercise.
Innovation is not done in isolation but collaboratively, within an environment that is not part of your daily routine, like your home office or work desk.
In my experience and that of many, innovation comes when you are surrounded by a diverse group of people, when discussing challenges you are experiencing.
Creating innovation in this manner takes a level of trust, as you will need to share your idea to build on the idea collectively – signing an NDA tends to stifle the creative juices from flowing.
So quite often, the best innovations start from a desire to make life better for yourself or others.
This works especially well with young people as they are not thinking about protecting their financial interest.
They are starting from a position of altruism, personal gain, or just a desire to do things differently and questioning the status quo.
This is something we need to continue to nurture amongst our young: a capability to question why we are doing what we are doing, and not to accept answers such as, ‘because we always do it that way.’
Young people have the perfect combination of changing hormones and rebellion spirit to be nurtured for greatest innovation, rather than just pushing the boundaries of discipline and behaviour at home, school or on the streets.
We should embrace this mindset.
In my life, I have always been required to think outside the box.
Maybe it is because I come from immigrant parents who struggled with English and required us to step up and make things happen for ourselves.
Or maybe it is that fighting spirit that is synonymous with Australians who look for opportunities to make something of ourselves.
As a mother of two teenage children, I spend much of my home life saying ‘no’ to their requests for increased freedom.
As a teacher, we are often again required to restrict non-conformity to rules, punishing those highly innovative ways to break the rules.
Keeping young people safe is of the utmost importance but maybe we should acknowledge the innovation and effort of coming up with such solutions.
In the spirit of keeping things in order, our young people hear lots of no – from an early age we are stifling innovation.
So, the next time I about to say no, maybe I should ask them to come up with an alternative solution, something innovative that creates a better solution for both.
It is from these early beginnings that our young start to flex their innovation muscle which becomes a way of life when entering industry and the world of work.
This week, all teachers (P-12) across Australia will have access to a lesson designed to help our young people to activate the innovative mind set.
Developed by ACS, these lessons can be implemented either unplugged or plugged in and are linked with the Australian curriculum.
The lessons are available from Year 1 to Year 10, as nurturing the innovative mindset starts from an early age. These lessons include innovation in the Willy Wonka story, 3D printing for animal prosthetics, ideation in the playground, and digital gamification design to help in the real world.
Lessons are being shared across the various social media Facebook groups especially designed for teachers by teachers.