By Jami Miedema

Even though I’m only a twenty-something, my friends and I still reminisce about the “good old days” (so what if that was only 10-15 years ago!) when each day felt like an exciting adventure as we learned new things, made new connections, and looked with optimism to our bright futures ahead. Although I still approach each day with this same hopefulness, it comes with a much different mindset now that I’m no longer a child. Sometimes, I find that duty hinders creativity, and a fear of failure diminishes dreams. I miss the “dare to dream” mentality which is not childish, but rather child-like.

In a TED talk entitled “What Adults Can Learn from Kids,” twelve-year old Adora Svitak presents on the importance of child-like thinking. She states, “In order to make anything a reality, you have to dream about it first.” In that regard, adults should listen to and learn from kids, just as kids have listened to and learned from adults. This reciprocal nature of learning enables progress that will better each generation as they become the leaders of tomorrow.

So what if unconventional ideas, wild creativity, and other child-like thoughts were promoted in the workplace? This is the kind of thinking that led to Whittaker’s new WALTER system. Dean and WALTER’s programmers encouraged us to think about a new system and create a wish list of what we wanted it to contain, and they would find a way to make it happen. We started with an end result in mind, not letting cost or logic stand in the way of our ideas. Once our vision was in place, we could then come up with a more logical path to achieve it.

I think that this child-like, “dare to dream” mentality can produce great results in our personal lives and in the workplace because it leads us to require more from ourselves. When we have higher expectations, we somehow overcome the challenges to reach for our bigger goals.