Innovation is not just a new discovery or product - it is a state of mind. Innovation comes from having a capacity for change which results in new ideas, new products and services or new ways of doing things. Innovation is critical to the country, to organizations and professionals, to individuals and to how we raise and educate our kids.
There is a lot to understand about innovation at all of these levels, which is why I wrote the book, but as a start their of five core values - questioning, risk, openness, patience and trust - that when are in balance make up the capacity for change. Following is a brief overview of how these priceless tips that relate to raising innovative children.
- Questioning: Encourage curiosity and asking questions by listening, answering and asking more questions. How questions are framed is important - be inquisitive not judgmental
- Risk: Taking intelligent risk and learning how to try and fail is critical to innovation. Give you children room to explore. Encourage them to try new things and treat failure as a learning experience. Don't over protect or jump in and do things for your kids.
- Openness: Innovators need to be open to imagine, to share ideas and collaborate and to change. Leaving room in your children's schedule to have time to play and experience new things off-line and on-line is important. Teaching them to work together with others through arts, sports, science projects on online games helps them learn how powerful collaboration can be.
- Patience: Encourage patience by giving them time to try different approaches to solve a problem. As we all know, kids learn by example, so having patience with them goes a long way. Don't be too quick to jump in and solve problems for them, be there and supportive while you let them solve them.
- Trust: It is hard to be willing to take risks or be open if you are not in an environment of trust. Receiving unconditional love from the day they are born provides the foundation of trust that will provide the foundation you children need for the future. As they grow build on that foundation by helping them understand the benefits that come with trust, what happens when trust is broken and how to determine whom to trust as they move through life.
As a parent it is important to think about how your actions influence (positively or negatively) how innovative your children will become. It is also important in working with schools to encourage and support the right environment to develop innovative qualities in your children that will be so critical to their success and the future of the country.
About Judy Estrin:
Judy Estrin is CEO of JLABS, LLC, formerly known as Packet Design Management Company, LLC. She is the author of Closing the Innovation Gap, to be published in September, 2008. Prior to co-founding Packet Design, in May 2000, Estrin was chief technology officer for Cisco Systems. Beginning in 1981 Estrin co-founded three other successful technology companies: Bridge Communications, Network ComputingDevices, and Precept Software. In 1998 Cisco Systems acquired Precept, and she became Cisco's chief technology officer until April 2000.
Estrin has been named three times to Fortune Magazine's list of the 50 most powerful women in American business. She sits on the boards of directors of The Walt Disney Company and FedEx Corporation as well as two private company boards - Packet Design, Inc. and Arch Rock. She also sits on the advisory councils of Stanford's School of Engineering and Stanford's Bio-X initiative. She holds a B.S. degree in math and computer science from UCLA, and an M.S. in electrical engineering from Stanford University.