First published at the Like Minds Conference October 2011
Our greatest moments of innovation are long behind us. This may sound harsh but it needn’t be, as long as you recognise it and stop trying to grow up.
I was talking with a mother recently, she was amazed that her young son could pick up a knife and fork and with absolute conviction craft a story of good and evil, of both battling it out where there could only be one victor. I remember how a white sheet draped over boxes could become a snowy wilderness for toy soldiers to scale, chilling me to the core to live their struggle as I played.
One day I read a verse from the bible that scared me until, without realising, it became true: “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways”. Eventually all I knew seemed childish.
Innovation is something we as adults strive so hard for, but often miss out that it is the opportunity taken that we need, not to think harder, but almost to not think at all. Like the children we once were, free from the inherited pressures of growing up, with space to fail, to learn, to embrace and to grow – not up but out.
So I challenge you – are you truly more innovative now than then, or happier even? If not, maybe the opportunity you need is the one in front of you.