At Galileo, we design our programs to develop and reinforce the five traits that make up the Innovator’s Mindset. This month we focus on the first of these traits: Innovators are VISIONARY.
Please don’t fear this word. Being visionary is not about being able to see around corners, nor is it reserved for the likes of Apple Founder Steve Jobs and Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Whether you are trying to improve your neighborhood, your family life or your work, being visionary is for all of us—and our kids.
Being visionary begins with a sense of optimism that the status quo can change. Innovators are not victims of circumstance; they are visionaries with a willingness to see an alternative outcome, and a belief that they can and should have a personal stake in achieving it.
Next, buoyed by this sense of possibility, visionaries need novel ideas to apply to their situation. Sometimes the answers are within, and can be unearthed by quiet reflection. Often they come from external actions—traveling, reading, attending conferences, doing research, observing people, walking a new neighborhood, mentoring, studying exemplars in a field—that help us see alternative ways of doing things. Visionaries harness wonder and curiosity to advance their cause.
How can we encourage our children to believe that the world can change and that they have a role in changing it? And how can we fire up their curiosity engines so they will have a full “filing cabinet” of ideas to cross reference? Here are some thoughts:
- Ask questions that indicate that you assume change is possible, including, “How do you think that could change?” “What do you think might be possible?” “What is your vision?” “What could you do about it?” “How might you learn that?” “How do you think she/he came up with that?”
- When you witness your kids identifying an alternative path or solution, celebrate it: “I love it when you come up with new approaches. That’s how the world becomes a better place.”
- Set the example—do something to change your community, household or workplace and talk your kids through what you did.
- Play a game as a family, but encourage your kids to change the rules—create a new kind of move in checkers, give a Candy Land card a different meaning or swap pieces from one game to another. It’s a fun way to see that we each have the power to effect change.
- Give your kids exposure to a variety of places, people and ideas. Go to a music festival or Maker Faire. Travel.
- Celebrate visionaries from history and current events.
Remember, to be visionary, we just have to be willing to see alternative paths and outcomes. All innovation stems from the basic belief that things can change and that I can change them.
Founder & CEO