What Kids Can Teach Us About Work – NextGen’s Jeff Freeland Nelson

Solving problems takes creativity, especially in an era of diminished resources and evaporating budgets. One of the most creative people you have ever met is you – a few decades ago. Thinking like a kid can spur innovation, uncover unexpected solutions and make the most mundane work fun.

“Kids are the most constructive and destructive people in the world. We need to stop telling them not to do things. But empower them.”

That’s the mission behind Play from Scratch. The Minnesota toy company is the brainchild of Jeff Freeland Nelson. Nelson will be a keynote speaker at this year’s upcoming Next Generation of Government Training Summit. The two day training summit kicks off on July 25 at the JW Marriott. You can register here.

Freeland Nelson told me that his toy company has a unique mission.

“Play from Scratch is a toy company but we take a very different approach than the traditional toy company. Our goal is to inspire kids to be create and instead of relying on us to do all the design work for them we really engage kids as co-creators with their own toys,” said Freeland Nelson.

Freeland Nelson’s Lessons:

  • Creativity creates value.
  • There is no creative type.
  • Artificially create scarcity. We are raised to crave abundance. But scarcity can be amazing.
  • Creativity can be anything, from a new policy to artwork.
  • Create something everyday.

Make Something from Anything

“It’s an idea that popped into my head after 20 years of trying to change the world through public policy. I worked with a post in the city government doing economic development work where I found myself engaged by this idea of public service but at the same time trying to apply my work as an artist to that public service. The question became how do you bring all the creativity to the table? Play from Scratch is my attempt to bring that creativity to the table with kids,” said Freeland Nelson.

Here are some of the best creations at NextGen!

Creativity Uncorked

“The challenge right now for a lot of us is that there aren’t a lot of resources available. We can’t throw money at problems like we used to. Now we have to think creatively about using the resources we do have. But the lack of resources give us an opportunity to be more creative,” said Freeland Nelson.

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