in Business, Creativity, Motivation, Music, Philosophy, Psychology, Science

Show & Tell – What Kids Can Teach Us About Creativity

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.

– Pablo Picasso

Here’s exactly how lazy we’re going to be today. You can get the meat of it by watching the two videos at the bottom so I can keep it really brief.

Here’s the scoop. Peter Skillman designed the so called “Marshmallow Challenge” where a group of 4 people have 18 minutes to build the tallest tower they can using the items depicted below.

Marshmallow Challenge

Alright. Let’s spend 15 minute debating about the approach and then proceed to fail miserably.

Adults spent most of their time simply planning, carefully mapping out the process and telling eachother what would and would not work.

Kids just went at it immediately. Turned out that the kids’ approach was more efficient. They simply tried stuff out and spent a lot of time actually doing it rather than debating it.

Luckily the adults that surpassed the children were designers & engineers. They had the technical know-how that merited them debating on the best approach. Also, years of education and trial & error probably gave them a good idea of what was possible.

It’s also interesting to look at how kids talk about what they’re doing while they’re doing it. They’re more in the moment, they don’t plan too far ahead. As a result they can roll with the punches a lot easier. Not that I would advocate punching a child. You know, when people might see.

Penguin Slap

Slappy Bird!

If we just tell people why something is a good idea it isn’t always the best way to convince them. Whenever we can we should focus on making a prototype of it as soon as possible so that we can show people why it’s a good idea.

I don’t know how many times I’ve been in a studio or writing session debating ideas. When we finally tried the stuff out it became clear what actually worked and what didn’t.

The beauty of it? Sometimes we’re completely wrong about it and can finally move on!

Can you think of an example in your life right now where all the telling in the world won’t change it but maybe showing will?

Let me know on twitter!

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