Teach Your Teen Entrepreneurial Skill: Creativity and Innovation.
“Things are only impossible until they’re not.” – Jean-Luc Picard as Captain James T
. Kirk, Star Trek.
Entrepreneurs have the unique ability to see the world and figure out a way to improve it by inventing something new or improving a product or service to something better. They thrive in solving complex problems with creative solutions. Creativity is the building block to their empires. Can you imagine a world without personal computers, smart phones, cars, apps, or your favourite street hawker center with food selections that seem to get better and better?
Children are one of the most imaginative creatures in the universe. Leave a child alone for a few minutes and when you come back, it would have devised a way to relieve itself of boredom. The child might explore his or her surroundings, invent a game, or use the materials lying around for entertainment. All without adult intervention.
So how do you develop a child’s innate creativity? Here are some ways:
- Provide them with resources. You can start providing them with the necessary tools to express their ideas. If they’re visual, try giving them colouring books and drawing tools, or beads and clay. If they love to cook, provide them with the ingredients to make easy (or complicated) dishes they can make for the family. Enrichment classes on the arts or business also help. Sometimes, the best resource you can give is the time and support to listen to their ideas, and asking them the right questions to guide them towards workable solutions.
- Encourage them to try – and make mistakes and fail. Adults are often paralysed by rules and the high stakes of failure which is why we are afraid to start. Children are more fearless. Encouraging them to try and letting them know it is alright to fail lets them know it is alright to explore their options.
- Encourage them to explore. Creativity and innovative ideas come at random times – a game, a visit to the restaurant, a walk at the park, a family trip or inside the classroom. Exploring life gives them more ideas they can mine in the future.
- Don’t reward them for exhibiting creativity. While it is really amazing how children can be very creative, incentivising their creative process can lower the quality of their work and effort. They also become less flexible in their ideas. Children have to develop mastery in the activities they are motivated to be in and the reward of fulfillment will come soon enough.
- Focus on the process and not the achievement. Ask questions about the process, like how they did this, or that. You can also ask if they had fun and show their finished product. This also shows that you care about what they do instead of just what glory they can bring.