Children are known to say the “darndest” things, yet out of the mouths of babes can come wisdom beyond measure.
I learned this firsthand when my 9-year-old niece enthusiastically called me one day saying that she had done “research” on me. Amused, I asked what she found. She mentioned seeing older pictures of me as well as my company’s website and blog.
She then, unannounced, proceeded to give me specific tips for improving my website!
Though her advice was unsolicited, I certainly welcomed it. Coincidentally, a few weeks after that conversation, a marketing consultant literally gave me the same advice! Ever since then, I’ve paid more attention to children and their unfiltered genius.
Generation Z was born into an era where the internet and mobile phones are the norm. Their unbridled exposure to technology, coupled with their natural curiosity, makes them a particularly good segment of the population to tap into for new ideas for your company.
3 ways children can spark innovation in your company:
- Participate in Social Media Forums. Children are drawn to certain images, videos and colors. Adults are no different. Show them your digital marketing portfolio including your website and social media profiles. Find out what attracts them and why. Ask them for their ideas for improvement and test them for effectiveness.
- Test Products or Services. Create a focus group where you ask children to test your products or services. Don’t worry that the information is too advanced or technical. You might be surprised at what they can comprehend. Watch their interaction with your product or service and make modifications accordingly.
- Perform Light Duties. Introduce children to basic business concepts like recordkeeping, performance reviews and sales processes. Show them how your front and back offices work so they have a holistic view of how business works. Monitor their actions and improve processes based on their feedback.
In each of these situations, record any questions children may ask as well as your responses. This represents the simplest way to explain your product and/or service and can become part of your online and offline sales collateral.
I recommend working with children between the ages of 8 – 17. Before developing an in-house program to work with them, it might be beneficial to first volunteer with organizations in your community that align with your subject matter expertise. This will give you ideas for structuring your program.
Junior Achievement is one such organization that specializes in teaching basic business skills to sixth and seventh graders. Some U.S. cities, like Atlanta, GA, even have a BizTown – an experiential learning environment that teaches children how to do things such as: setting up savings accounts, collecting invoice payments, developing marketing strategies and paying taxes.
You should also study child labor laws where you conduct business. The type of program you create will largely depend on a child’s age.
Generation Z represents our future. By offering opportunities for children to get a head-start on learning about business, you not only gain new ideas for improving your business, but also the satisfaction of knowing you’ve helped shape future leaders, entrepreneurs, inventors…maybe even your future successor!
Tapping into the innovation offered by Generation Z might be just the boost your company needs to get to the next level of success.