I read and hear a lot of HR related presentations that suggest we must strive to promote innovation in our workforce, that it is the competitive edge for companies.
Well, I challenge those who say we lack innovation, it seems the answer is HIRE THE YOUNG!
I offer the following example; my grandson, Liam, has grown up in the age of Legos, has many sets of blocks that have been designed to produce a specific “object”, complete with pictorial instructions on how to build the object. He meticulously followed the pictures, assembled the object well, and plays with them.
But the REAL innovation I have seen him exhibit is when he has dissembled the object down the basic blocks, combined them with the other object sets he has, and uses his imagination to design something that no Lego designer has thought of. And what I find the most rewarding is his understanding of what he has built and WHY! He saw a need, thought it out, and made it happen.
I introduce these two pictures as evidence, and I challenge those of you reading this to produce a Lego set that remotely exhibits the innovation shown in his design.
He had basic building “blocks”, tools, imagination, AND NO RESTRICTIONS to assemble his design. That to me seemed to be the key….and I suspect that if we allowed the same for the rest of us in the workforce, we might find innovation right beneath our noses. What we need to promote, in my opinion, is the time, the tools, and the recognition of innovation to those willing express their imagination.
The ideas spur further refinement, better understanding of what can or might be thought of, pushing the boundaries of current norms to further dimensions. Go forth and INNOVATE!