It is incredible what we can do when we feel supported. When you feel supported, you are free to explore; you are not as afraid to make a mistake, and as a result, I think you can be more creative and innovation in action and thought. In other words, the support that we receive or give is akin to receiving, granting, or denying permission. I saw this a few days ago when we had guests in our lab.
This Saturday, we had a group of 15 male students of high school age visit our lab from Class Matters. The students were brought in by the chairperson of the organization, Darron Lamkin, who is a PhD student in our EdTech program. We did not have a very structured program. The goal was to have students in our lab, have conversations about creativity and show them the different tools in the lab.
I don’t know if it is the outcome of the Class Matters program or what, but the students seem to have a keen understanding of how to support each other. There was never an instance of any of them working on activities alone. When one was on the flight simulator, there was at least two on each side, giving input and guidance. When three were playing Just Dance 2020, there were at least three others with cheers of “go, go, go!” “you go!” “Show ‘em!” When one could not figure out how to use the telepresence robot, another went over to problem solve. What was happening (in my view), is that the support was giving permission. There was no fear of “I’ll be laughed at” or “I don’t know how to do this.” What was present, however, was permission to try, think outside the box or to be creative within the box.
This experience had me thinking about the way we give or deny permission to others, in the way we act in support or in opposing their ideas. The support can come in many forms and can be extrinsic or intrinsic. However, in the end, I think we have to find a way to be more supportive or to seek out support that frees us to be more creative and innovative.