Spare Parts and Innovation

On Sunday, February 26, from 11am to 3pm, come to the big tent in front of New Westminster City Hall and you’ll find a bunch of kids making messy, unstable, and ultimately useless creations. You’ll not only see kids having fun, but you’ll see kids having some of the most innovative ideas during New Westminster’s Innovation Week. These kids will approach a pile of found objects, their imaginations will ignite, and they will begin to create and play. Some of the things they create will end in failure, but with each failure they will learn and use the best of what worked to make something successfully. This is innovation at its finest.

Innovation starts with vision. When kids look over the piles of found materials we put out for them they look to see what they might become. Rarely do kids consider using the materials for their original purpose. A tire becomes a swing, a bridge base, or a piece of a mousetrap. Using materials that most adults would consider waste makes it easier for kids to innovate, because they’re not hindered by the idea that something was purchased for a single particular purpose. Children are free to make mistakes, and making mistakes is the key step to innovation. You assemble the things you think you need and you attempt to create your vision. This hardly ever goes right on the first try. Many kids are frustrated by their first failure, because as a society we don’t often give kids a space where failure is accepted, let alone welcomed. If they stick with their original idea most kids use a trial-and-error process and discover all kinds of new ideas on their way to their creation. Some kids will make a mistake, cut something wrong, or find that their unwieldy stack won’t balance, so they abandon their original idea. Some kids end up doing is taking an idea they discovered in the process of making mistakes and using that idea to create something new. Both paths lead to new ideas and eventually some sort of creation the kids are proud to show off.

Innovation is a process. Frequently it’s a process that is both messy and filled with mistakes. By attending a program like the Spare Parts Adventure pop-up playgrounds, children learn the resilience that is necessary for them to be successful innovators and creators as adults. So bring your kids to New Westminster City Hall on February 26th to let them get messy and create something awesome.