Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Imagination of Children

For those of you who know me, you probably know I used to nanny for two adorable children when I was a university student. I loved, loved, loved that job. To me it was more of a break than it was a job. It was a reminder to use my imagination and an opportunity to play pretend. Noa was famous for explaining to me how things worked and how she viewed the world. Here is one of my favorite examples from an old blog I kept during that time:

"Every now and then I take my car to go get the kids from school. Eli sometimes asks me if my music is skipping or what that "sound" is. It made me realize that there are probably a lot of different kinds of musical genres that they haven’t really heard before. On our way to get Eli from school the other day, Noa asked me what the scratchy noise was- I didn’t understand at first. Oh! I got it- she was asking about the scratching from the music playing. I tried to explain electronic music to her.

I told her that some music is made from playing instruments and that some is made from synthetic sounds with a computer. I tried to explain what a DJ does when he scratches old records on a turntable and what sound that produces. Then I thought to myself, “I wonder if Noa understands what a turn table is?” So I gave her a quick run down of that. I asked her if she understood what I was explaining. She said, “yes.”

Noa and Eli both play the violin and so they are pretty well rounded at an early age about musical composition. Finally I thought of a good example. I asked her if she could tell me the difference between a piano and a keyboard. She eagerly responded with, “Yes! They are different sizes! One is really big and one is smaller.” “Right,” I said. I asked her if she knew why and she paused. I asked her if she knew what was inside of them. “Have you ever looked inside a piano and seen all of the thick steel strings and little felt covered hammers?” She said she had.

Then she told me, “I think that when you look inside of a piano it is more like looking at a jungle with vines and trees and leaves and stuff, and it's all vines."

Kind of amazed with this answer, I asked her what she thought the inside of a keyboard must look like. She said "I think it's like a city with tall buildings and sidewalks.”

Oh my God. Yes. And here is where my teaching stopped, and Noa’s began."


We let a lot of that imagination and curiosity for the world go when we become adults. Recently I read how Sony Ericsson created their new global Xperia ad and was pleasantly surprised at how beautifully they captured imagination through the eyes of a child: 


The ad and concept is wonderfully executed. The line is "Made of Imagination" with the actual script coming from the real imagination of an 8-year-old boy. The only thing I find a bit funny is that the creds at the end of AdWeek post don't mention a single planner involved. I know we're usually behind the scenes and not used to waving our planner flags high in public, but from my knowledge of the industry, a planner would typically do these discovery interviews and have a major hand in selecting the kind of interviews conducted. So whoever you are, wherever you are, hats off to the unmentioned planner in this team, great work!


1 comment:

Jessica said...

I tell that story about Noa like, once a month.
She's a little hero of mine.

Excited about this execution!