That should tell you something about the public's faith that in our education system as it now stands to turn out innovators. From test-obsessed grade schools to passion-destroying MBA programs, concerns that school and innovation really don't mix clearly start early and continue right through post-grad study.
Given this anxiety that organized education isn't doing much to encourage out-of-the-box thinking, how should parents respond? I recently pointed out a few powerful, science-backed tips from Wharton professor Adam Grant, which suggest general approaches adults looking to nurture creativity in kids should take.
But how about more specific ideas -- things like games, toys, and techniques that will encourage young people to form their own opinions, ask questions, and look for innovative solutions? If that's what you're after the blog of Hackbright Academy, a coding school specifically for women, has a long list of ideas.
Their suggestions are targeted primarily at girls (who through social pressures -- ugh, middle school -- are often given particularly unsubtle hints to conform and stop all that pesky creativity), but most could be used to encourage any little innovator. Here are a few of Hackbright's ideas to get you started:
1. Subscribe your way to greater innovation.
2. Model inquiry.
Don't know the answer to your child's question? Set a good example and find out together. "Google new terms and concepts with your child," advises the post.
3. Innovate the bedtime story.
You're probably already reading to your little one. Why not mix a few innovation-centered titles into your routine? "Make 11 Experiments That Failed, Rosie Revere, Engineer, When I Grow Up, The Paper Bag Princess, and Career Day your coffee table books," suggests Hackbright.
4. Nurture a growth mindset.
5. Play your way to creativity.
Offering your kid toys that enable them to exercise their imaginations is a simple and obvious way to encourage their creativity, but where do you find the best ones? "Toys are an easy win for future inventors--Toward The Stars can recommend some," notes Hackbright, helpfully. Other experts also have suggestions.
What other tips or ideas would you share with your fellow parents?