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The Wonder of Children


Childlike wonder is at the core of Design Thinking. It is an undeniably human-centered behavior. Unfiltered. Uninhibited. Tireless and beautiful.


Do you ever ask yourself to hear, see, feel, and sense the world around us without judgment, just to see what you can learn? Do you help others to do the same? Are you constantly listening and looking for patterns previously unknown to anyone (as far as you know)? Do you ever wonder why or how our thoughts and actions differ when we around other people, and in different environments? This is childlike wonder. Children do this all of the time.


This is also Design Thinking. 


Adults are thinking machines that spark neurons. If we spark the same 'safe and known' thinking neurons, over and over, we literally create ruts and grooves in our machine. These ruts are formed as the brain 'learns' by enhancing the couplings between concurrently sparked neurons. While this is a simplified visualization of memory, these ruts are like grooves in a mud road that trap our tires and make it harder for our brains to learn from outside influences. As you can imagine, this makes innovation very challenging. Children's ruts are not that deep yet allowing them to wander all over the proverbial roads.


Fortunately, (and unfortunately sometimes) whether we try to change our own brains or not, our brains are subject to the influences of those brains around us. Limbic revision is the phenomena of new neural pathways being formed simply by spending time with someone different. By spending time with diverse people, in diverse environments, doing different things, innovations will present themselves more frequently.


Children can't help this. They see and experience many more things as though it's the first time. If we watch and interact with them, we can learn from their reactions. Without an advanced or rutted brain to get in the way yet their ideas flow more freely.


As adults seeking new solutions, it is helpful to practice getting our advanced brain gets out of the way. Once we do that, ideas seem to magically appear.


Every wonder why we have so many ideas in the shower?

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