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What makes some kids innovative?

What Makes Some People Innovative?

And How to Make Sure Your Child Is One of Them.

 

Innovation.

Have you heard that word lately? Unless you’ve been away from the world for a while, chances are you hear it every day. You don’t just hear it, you live it. And your children live it too.

Today’s youth don’t just live in innovation, they learn it. They embody it. And for those who will choose to enter the workforce in nearly any vertical, they will be expected to drive innovation and predict the next big change in their industry.

The momentum of today’s world is breathtaking, not always in a good way. As a society, we’ve yet to bridge the gap between the constant, fluid change driven by technological advancement and the perfectly human need for predictability, identifiable patterns, and stability. The stress of job insecurity and constant adaptation has resulted in the most anxious and depressed generation since, well, the Depression.

There are those who thrive, however. They don’t just adapt, they drive industrial, technological, and even social advancement so easily it looks natural.

That’s because it is natural.

They’re innovative. Yet, though advancement is a natural byproduct of their actions, the attributes that drive their actions and decisions can be nurtured in anyone.

 

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Problem finding: Innovation begins with problem finding. Not problem solving, finding a quick solution to the observable symptoms of a problem; problem finding, the ability to discover, create, or preempt problems in order to better understand the deeper mechanism. Problem finding is a function of curiosity and courage.

Vulnerability: To be vulnerable is to be human. Empathy, posing ideas, challenging the status quo to be a catalyst for change – these strengths embody innovation, but are rarely attributed to their true source. They require an individual to first expose their emotional weakness. In a world where everyone is expected to be a celebrity in their own right, becoming comfortable with vulnerability is a mark of future greatness and the ultimate skill for success.

Motivation: Motivation is a hot topic, one that extends across time and space. Any motivation has its merits, but individuals who rely on external motivation tend to fall behind. Frankly, society isn’t built to maintain a system of external motivation.

Sustainable motivation is intrinsic. It comes from within. For those innovators who constantly, naturally drive progress, intrinsic motivation manifests as curiosity, the insatiable drive to find answers. Not solutions, but answers. While solutions “fix” a problem, answers explain a problem. And from that explanation comes a resolution that leads to the next innovation.

Courage: Talk about character is constant, but breaking it down and naming the components is rare. Problems manifest from this oversight in the form of focus on developing confidence, when what our children really need is courage.

Confidence is important, of course. Confidence in one’s belief in themself or their ability. We’re particularly partial to academic confidence. It’s internal, and reflects the self. Courage is a little different. It refers to one’s ability to overcome doubt derived from the perception of danger from outside one’s self. That danger can be physical, but is typically social. Without courage, thoughts and ideas are kept inside, never getting a chance to change the world.

Innovative, or creative, people have a significant advantage in the twenty-first century. Which is why it’s so important to instill these traits in our youth to prepare them for the world they will soon inherit. Would you like to see how we prepare our high school students for life-long success?

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