Friday, December 11, 2009

Innovation and Imagination

It seems these days many people are talking about the importance of innovation for turning our economy around. Columnists David Brooks, Thomas Friedman, Paul Krugman all talk about it. Our country has many resources but perhaps one of our most valuable resources is the resource of imagination and our ability as a nation to innovate. We not only have the talent, but we also have the business and cultural environment that encourages innovation--something not all countries have.

What I wonder about is whether we recognize the connection between innovation and the role that toys and games play in creating imaginative and innovative people. Play has an essential role to play in this equation. It is time to encourage all aspects of the imaginative mind and our internal imaginal worlds. Let kids' imaginations run free. Let our own hearts and minds dream big.

The world is full of success stories showing how a little idea turned into something huge, even magnificent. What we can all do is to say we care about the imaginal world of our kids and our colleagues.

One way to encourage the imagination is to buy gifts and games for the holidays that stimulate open-ended thinking and open-ended play. And then, it's up to us to play them with a spirit of wonder and amazement over the wild ideas that come out.

Go ahead. Find yourself a game or gift that inspires your imagination. You just might find out how much fun you will have in the process.