Thinking like a 3 year old…

I am continually struck by the way my 3 year old views the world.  There is a pureness of insight that we adults have lost.

Example – this morning we were discussing how big she is growing, I was praising her for eating well and sleeping (my world view, what I  valued) her responses..

“If I stand on my tippy toes i’ll be bigger…. or I could stand on a stool …. or wear mummy’s high heel shoes”

Profoundly simply solutions to her desire to be bigger….

Then when I got into the office, what was the first thing I noticed?  A woman in very high heels, but was still only 5 ft tall…. someone else trying to be bigger (something far from unique) .. as I said before, insightful.

Like every other 3 year old, she challenges our world view with that deeply confronting question “why”.
It can be frustrating, but mainly because it challenges me to communicate ideas to her in ways that relevent… that is have reason… genuine reason.  This process of asking why has been adopted by business , but I think we under use in in innovation terms. If you can use the 5 Why’s analysis method to articulate your proposition in words that have meaning to a 3 year old, you probably have a winner… I’ve tried this with some of the stuff we have going on at work, an experience I would recommend.

Finally, thinking like a 3 year old in the actual development of products can have huge benefits. I’m not alone in noticing this,  the best performing teams in the marshmallow challenge … are kids her age. Why? (pun intended), because

that none of the kids spend any time jockeying for power. Kids aren’t trained to be CEOs of Spaghetti, Inc. In their world of play, they build successive prototypes, failing fast, laughing and learning along the way.

In other words they checked their egos, worked together, tried things out really quickly and kept on iterating…

We adults have a lot to learn .

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