The majority of innovators are keen observers. They keep a close eye on the world around them. Your kids need to develop a heightened awareness by observing what functions and what doesn’t on their way to becoming innovators through STEM education, coding for kids and robotics for kids.
They might also notice that someone in a different setting has come up with another, frequently better, solution to a problem.
As your kids make these kinds of observations in their learning environment, they start to draw connections between seemingly unrelated pieces of data, which could lead to novel business concepts like innovators do. Such observations usually include several senses and are motivated by intriguing questions.
Many revolutionary product ideas have stemmed from careful observation of a problem, situation or personal experience. For instance, when Indian car manufacturer Tata Motors launched the world’s cheapest car, called the Tata Nano, in 2008, it was considered a remarkable feat.
The effort had started several years earlier when then-chairman Ratan Tata observed a family of four riding precariously on a scooter during a rainy evening. That observation provoked him to think about the problem and then work towards finding a solution to address the situation in the best possible way. Tata Nano was the answer.
Looking for the Problem and Finding a Solution
One practical framework or technique for careful observation is to look for the problem or the job and then find a product or better way to solve the problem.
Studying people in their natural contexts and taking cues from their behaviour is one approach for careful observation.
For instance, customers search for a product or service that they may “rent” when they become aware of a task that needs to be completed. When someone has a task to complete, they set out to employ something or someone who can accomplish it efficiently, conveniently, and affordably.
Observing someone in a specific situation can provide more valuable ideas for completing a task.
Understanding the Problem
Every problem has a functional, social, and emotional component. However, each profession places a different emphasis on each one. It can be challenging to grasp a task’s functional, social, and emotional aspects, yet doing so could be the key to an innovative and original solution.
Looking for the problem and understanding its various aspects can work for products and services.
For instance, we pay schools to teach the young people in our society and frequently reprimand them for doing a poor job. Why do schools fail to perform? It is a common question we ask. We may be asking the wrong question, possibly a significant factor in our dissatisfaction with the condition of public K–12 education. Instead, if we asked, “Why aren’t pupils learning?” we might learn things that other people haven’t yet noticed.
The fact that so many kids don’t see education as a job to be done is a big reason why so many of them languish in school without motivation or never show up for class. Their primary goals are to feel successful and enjoy themselves with friends, fulfilling daily social and emotional requirements.
Understanding this makes us see why some students quit school to hang out in gangs or drive around in vehicles with buddies since these pursuits frequently serve as substitutes for education. It is a social and emotional problem with the kids.
Observation as a skill
For most innovators, observation is a crucial discovery talent that they use to produce one of two types of observations.
1. They observe individuals attempting to complete a task under various conditions and learn more about the task they genuinely desire to complete.
2. Finding a solution by observing people, processes, businesses, or technology that can be used (perhaps with some modification) in a different setting
Successful product inventors have keen observational abilities at all times. Your kids, too, need to learn these when they enter the STEM field or take up subjects like science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Innovation occurs as a result of constant observation and inquiry into the world. It’s a component of who they are.
How can one improve their ability to observe? It is found that good observers are more successful at identifying tasks to be completed and better ways to meet them by adopting one of the following:
1. When observers actively observe customers see what products they employ to do what jobs,
2. Learn to look for surprises or anomalies
3. Search for opportunities to observe a new environment
Let’s look at the three in more detail.
1. Actively watch users—and look for workarounds.
The most straightforward method of using observation to get creative insights is to actively observe people as they use products to complete tasks and then see what insights you can glean about the job.
The phrase “workaround” first appeared in the IT industry when programmers had to “workaround” a specific systemic issue. The idea works just as effectively in other fields.
A workaround is an imperfect or only partially successful solution to a specific problem. It may offer hints on developing a brand-new good, service, or company to complete the task.
2. Looking for Surprises
Surprises, the unexpected, must be actively sought out because they frequently get lost when our thoughts distort what we perceive to meet our preconceived notions.
Constantly ask,” What is unexpected? What differs from your expectations? Authentic learning and innovation begin there.
Scientists have the chance to revisit a particular hypothesis to comprehend it better when an anomaly—a surprise—is found. The theory is frequently modified or improved by understanding and explaining the oddity. The answer to creating innovation may lie in spotting surprises or anomalies—what isn’t what you expected.
Scientists who look for abnormalities and try to explain them advance their fields more effectively than those who try to avoid them. As a result, identifying anomalies in scientific research is just as important as observing surprises in business research.
How do you look for surprises?
Although innovation “begins with an eye,” it doesn’t have to stop there. It’s essential to keep in mind that observations often require more than just the eyes. Learning research often highlights the power of a multimodal experience when it comes to discovering something new and understanding the experience. We observe and remember more as we use more senses to explore the environment. Therefore, searching for surprises might also involve hearing, tasting, feeling, and smelling anything unexpected.
3. New Environment
We are much more likely to pay close attention to what is happening around us when we first enter a new area because we naturally want to grasp what is novel and unusual. New ideas are discovered by people who immerse themselves in novel situations and then closely examine what transpires.
The likelihood of visiting novel surroundings, such as foreign nations, various businesses, unconventional conferences, or simply exciting locations, was higher for innovators.
Of course, putting yourself in a new situation isn’t always possible. Fortunately, a rich source for fresh ideas can frequently be found in the familiar world of people and places we assume we are familiar with.
The bottom line is that observers have a better chance of finding a creative solution to the issues they see if they can spot workarounds and anomalies and go deeply to comprehend them.
As a parent, you would want to improve and perfect your kid’s observational abilities so that they can change their outlook and performance in STEM, problem-solving and robotics classes for kids.