Encourage Girls To Learn Differently

Innovators are often self-taught

In my last post, I began to outline the seven strategies that play out in entrepreneurial class—strategies that encourage the curious child to embark on a quest of discovery. I spoke about the need to reawaken a drive in children.

Here, I look at the second strategy:

2. Learn Differently 

Diverse teams who have been “thoroughly exposed to two or more cultures, seem to have the advantage in the range of frequency of creative innovation,” says Frans Johansson, author of The Medici Effect, which probes the surprising results of combining disciplinary encounters. People who are exposed to more cultures are more likely to see things that are often missed by others.

Johansson advocates “tactics that allow us to learn as many things as possible without getting stuck in a particular way of thinking about these things.” Renowned Silicon Valley venture capitalist Paul Maeder says that the startups that get his attention have a common thread: people who think differently.

Innovators are often self-taught. They tend to be the types who educate themselves intensely, and their learning experience is often quite broad, as they’ve excelled in one field and learned in another. Look at bioengineering or materials science. They involve many disciplines. They are inherently interdisciplinary.

Psychology research demonstrates there are times when novices can compete with experts because the novices can have good ideas that the experts are blind to see. How is this possible? In a game of bridge, novices can compete if the rules are altered, upsetting conventional expert strategies. It is the thesis in action of Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants. In other words, a startup can prevail because it is coming at problems with unbound creative thinking.

I’d love to hear from you about how you encourage the girls in your life to learn by trying different approaches or strategies. What has worked for you and for them? What were the experiences? What were the results? Thank you for sharing.

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