Why Agencies Should Be…Run By Kids
I work in marketing and travelling abroad is too expensive so a couple of weeks ago I headed down to Devon for a holiday to soak up some of the finest British rays. As I sat on a surprisingly warm beach I saw a child pick up a stick, draw some circles in the sand and begin pacing out an arena. What developed from there was a game that emptied his families’ beach towels as they all trotted over to have a go. In 4 minutes a new game was born from nothing that kept his family entertained all day. It struck me that children have a raw and incredible sense of creativity, something that saps out of us in the working world and could hold the key to success.
So why are kids so creative?
Kids are uninhibited
As we grow up we’re often told something won’t work, that it’s not possible and that’s not how the world works but when we’re kids everything is new and everything is possible. They are infallible. Don’t get me wrong, we need to learn not to do some things otherwise we’ll end up with a generation of plug licking, toy swallowing morons. However, Walt Disney nailed it when he said “ if you can dream it, you can do it” and it seems to me that we’re not dreaming it so we can’t do it. If an adult and a child were asked to draw their family the adult would spend hours deliberating whether to include aunts and uncles or nieces and nephews or the dog, whereas the kid would draw a dragon, BECAUSE THEY WANT A ******* DRAGON! It doesn’t have to be realistic because it’s real in their mind and it’s real on the paper. Nothing is holding them back from drawing a (rather dodgy looking) dragon.
Kids live in their imagination
Let’s be honest, when was the last time you let your imagination run wild? Now it’s probably fair to say we do daydream and use our imagination from time to time, I for one recently got married to Scarlett Johansson, but we don’t use our imagination like kids. We look at a box and we see a box, kids look at a box and they see a plane, a car, a house, a fort, an office, a hospital and a box. When recently watching Inside Out (beware slight spoilers!), the loss of the girl’s imagination was a devastating moment, in fact I found myself slightly blurry eyed (but mainly because it was dusty in my apartment). The creativity that existed in her mind is wiped away as she grows up, probably to be replaced with “useful” things like algebra, french vocab and train times. Hope is not lost, we need to work on growing our imagination. My recent favourite way of doing this is with One Minute Briefs, where you can let your imagination run wild for a minute (or longer) and share your wacky ideas with a wider community. *Warning fluffy saying alert* Imagination forms a bedrock for inspiration and inspiration builds into ideas.
Kids make the most of what they have
I’m sure many of us, myself included, love coming up with ideas but we never act on them. Mine usually involve making a drone or some crazy invention but I never do it because of cost, time or it’s just vastly over complicated. Children use what they have to make what they want. My beach in Devon was a perfect example of this, around me a multitude of different sports were being played all contained the same ingredients: sand and a ball. Yes there were the obvious ones football, cricket and catch but some involved invisible nets with confusing catching rules and lines to indicate legal and illegal throws. Others had built sandcastles with channels to run the ball down like some crazy sand helta-skelta. I stared at the tennis ball roller coaster as it zipped its way under a tunnel and down towards the sea and realised that we so often think of an idea and then build around it. We think “hmm a beach roller coaster, we’re gonna need wood, some steel, a ticket collector, a drinks stand…” but instead we should think, what have we got and how can we use what we’ve got in a smarter way. “Start where you are, use what you have, and get where you can” (Arthur Ashe) and then think about what the next steps are.
Edit 1 (Thank you V): Slightly off topic but if you need more inspiration on why we should be taking lessons from kids see the letter Alex sent to Obama asking him to re-home a Syrian child in his own home. “The humanity that a young child can display, who hasn’t learned to be cynical, or suspicious, or fearful of other people because of where their from, or how they look, or how they pray. We can all learn from Alex” — President Obama.