I am sure you have heard all the buzz around a growth versus fixed mindset. But are you familiar with the innovator’s mindset and can you create one in your children?
What is an innovative mindset?
To understand an innovative mindset, you must first understand the idea of a growth mindset. According to Carol Dweck, “Mindsets are just beliefs. A growth mindset is about believing that you can develop your abilities, intelligence and talents”. An innovator’s mindset takes this concept one step further. According to George Couros, when one has an innovator’s mindset, they hold the belief that “abilities, intelligence, and talents are developed which then lead to the creation of new and better ideas… it is not simply about being open to growth but focusing on what new knowledge you can create with that growth.”
What does this mean for children?
By nature, children are filled with curiosity. With this curiosity comes the possibility of questions. Questions are an opportunity for growth. How parents and educators respond to a child’s wonder can impact how they learn and shape future learning. For some children, their experiences may stifle that inquisitiveness and desire to seek information. Thus, leading to a fixed mind-set.
Fostering an innovative mindset
If we want our children to become forward-thinking leaders, then we need to create growth and innovative-friendly mindset environments. These settings are where kids feel safe from judgment and believe in their own potential to grow and learn.
Be a role model
Remember that children are always watching, listening and learning. Ask yourself what type of mindset you have? Reflect on the type of messages you are sending when you respond to situations and when you interact with your children. When we embody the key characteristics of an innovator’s mindset, we can support children to achieve.
Commit to learning
Take as many opportunities as you can to collaborate with children during their learning process. This includes giving constructive feedback and allowing them to revise work if possible. Helping kids understand that mistakes and let-downs are also opportunities for new learning.
Encourage question asking
We want to tap into children’s curiosity. An innovator’s mindset should always start with a question. Critical thinkers ask tons of questions. When there is a road block, teach your kids to ask another question. Continue to ask questions until they have an answer or seek input from others. Questioning helps children to identify their thinking processes, to see the connections between ideas and build new understandings as they work their way to a solution that makes sense to them.
Make time for innovation
We want to foster creativity not stifle it. Encourage your kids to explore and be active with their minds and their hands. Consider signing them up for a STEM class (Science Technology Engineering Math).
When we highlight a child’s ability, we are sending the wrong message. Praising ability only reinforces their own self-perception. Instead, praise children for their effort and willingness to tackle the task. According to Carol Dweck, “We are in the business of helping kids thrive, not finding reasons why they can’t.”
Allow for self-reflection
Making time for self-assessment and reflection allows children to think about what is important in life, focus on accomplishments and learn from mistakes. It is a step towards thinking positively, considering choices and making better decisions. At the end of a day, ask your child “How did you make it a great day today?” “What did you do to learn something new?”
Parents and educators are continuously aiming to inspire and empower children to follow their dreams. An innovative mindset is the critical step to fulfilling one’s potential.
- Mindset. The new psychology of success. How we can learn to fulfill our potential, (2016) by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D
- The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent, and Lead a Culture of Creativity, (2015) by George Couros