Innovation is one of the main challenges in today’s world, both personally and professionally. We live in a society that demands creative, original and efficient solutions to increasingly complex and dynamic problems. And the objective is always the same: generate value!
But how can we develop our capacity to innovate? One possible answer is to rescue our childhood imagery, that is, the way children relate to the world through imagination, curiosity and make-believe.
Children are naturally innovative, as they are not afraid to experiment, make mistakes, learn and have fun. They are constantly asking themselves “what if…” and exploring the possibilities of their surroundings. They create stories, characters, objects and scenarios from simple elements, such as a piece of paper, a shoe box or a tree branch. They are not limited by the conventions, rules or prejudices of adult reality. They are free to dream and to turn their dreams into reality.
Children’s imagery is an inexhaustible source of innovation, as it allows us to see the world with different eyes, with more enchantment, surprise and admiration. He encourages us to question what already exists, to seek what does not yet exist and to create what never existed. It makes us step out of our comfort zone, routine and conformity. He inspires us to be more daring, flexible and collaborative.
However, at the same time, children are taught to put their imaginations aside. As Murilo Gun clearly presents in his course on Creative Relearning, we pushed children, for 20 years, to follow the protocol: simply memorize and excel, arriving at the same common place as the others. And it is precisely there that we lose all the superpower of imagination capable of making us creative and innovative.
I’ve heard phrases from a lot of people like “I’m not creative” and “I don’t have creativity”, or even “Wow, these humanities people are super creative. As for me, who is exact, it’s impossible.” But this is not an absolute truth, but just another assumption. After all, even a BI (Business Analytics) analyst who spent 24 hours a day in front of an Excel spreadsheet would still use his creativity to analyze the data in the best possible way, or to find new possibilities based on the data presented.
Abraham Maslow tells us that “the creative man is not an ordinary man to whom something has been added; Creative is the common man from whom nothing has been taken.” Yes, creativity, fantasy, imagination, everything is within us, but we often block this resource for the most diverse and noble reasons, ranging from shyness to even the logical reasoning of “I don’t have time for that”.
But how can we rescue this imagery? It’s not about becoming a child again, but about recovering the essence of the child we were and still are to explore new paths, create new journeys capable of innovating and generating value. We need to unlock the “what if” button in our brain and rescue the inventive childhood mindset to be able to innovate.
As? The answer is simple and not at all complex.
Let’s cultivate our imagination and exercise our ability to create mental images, to visualize scenarios, to invent stories, to fantasize about solutions. We need to awaken more curiosity, feed our interest in the unknown, the different, the new.
To do this, we can read books, watch films, listen to music, visit places, meet people, learn languages, experience cultures, among other activities that expand our repertoire and our horizon. Practicing “pretend”, playing with reality, with possibilities, with alternatives. And finally and most importantly: don’t be afraid to make mistakes! “Talking nonsense”, “you’re crazy” are the biggest signs that we are on the right path of imagination. Often, you have to make mistakes to find the right path.
Rescuing our childhood imagery is a way of reconnecting with our essence, with our passion and purpose. It is a way of freeing ourselves from the bonds, blocks and fears that prevent us from innovating, from opening ourselves up to the infinite, the unpredictable, the extraordinary. It is a way to become more human, happier, fulfilled, creative and innovative. So I ask you: what if?
*Rodolfo Brizotti Are you a Partner and Head of Creation, Planning and Content at EAÍ?! Content Experience, a live marketing agency focused on content experience and innovations in organizing events, incentive campaigns, promotions, awards and the most diverse brand experience activations. He has worked with major players in the market, such as Whirlpool, Heineken, iFood and Havaianas.