It has been around for several years, but I recently learned about the Tinkering School and fell in love with the concept. The school started in the San Francisco area by Gever Tulley, and there are now programs offered in Los Angeles, Chicago, Austin, Buffalo and Bratislava (which is the capital of Slovakia – and embarrassingly, I had to look that up). The concept is a program for youth that gives them the time, space and materials to not only build things, but experiment while doing it. The best part is that they have them using real tools – so that they are truly learning how to build something, not just talking about it.
The organization operates under three major assumptions:
- Kids are more capable than they know,
- The freedom to fail is essential and
- It can be done bigger and bolder.
On its site, it’s explained that “a failure-positive atmosphere allows children to play in the face of adversity.” What an important skill to learn at a young age! I wonder how everyone would benefit if we gave ourselves a space to play in the face of adversity? Some professions are set-up in a way that they allow this, but many are all about producing and not necessarily about playing, experimenting and giving room for mistakes and failure. Yet, these are the exact skills it takes to be an entrepreneur. So, if you have not learned this in your formal education setting and haven’t had a career that has provided the space to do this, and then you decide to start your own business…well, there is going to be a steep learning curve.
How can we take a page from the Tinkering School’s handbook, and make sure that we are giving ourselves time to tinker?
To learn more about the Tinkering School – watch Gever Tulley’s TED Talk below…