I skimmed this article last week and then referred to it a few times while talking with friends (even my kids), so I thought I would share it. The article is about a team of scholars who wanted to determine "how innovators come up with million- or billion-dollar ideas." They found: "the most innovative CEOs spend 50% more time practicing five specific skills than do their less-creative counterparts."
1. Ask a lot of questions that "challenge the status quo" like "Why?" "Why not" and "What if?"
2. Observe "how customers experience a product or service, and they focus on the things that differ from what they expected."
3. Experiment, or use "discovery skills" by "seeking training outside their expertise."
4. Network, or "connect with others simply to find and test new ideas... rather than network to gain access to resources or to market [themselves]." They constantly look for "creative people" to get help "stimulat[ing] creative thinking."
5. Associate, or connect "seemingly unrelated questions and ideas." (This is the "skill that brings all the others together.")
I have noticed, since reading about these five skills, that I am encouraging my kids more to think outside of the norm, and observe, question, and experiment more. I think we are born with these skills, at least my 10-month old makes me think so.