Googlers experience - Childlikethinking @ Blue Blocks.
Sporting white t-shits uniformly, with a school bag in hand a new batch of “children” boarded the yellow school bus at the Google Office this past week. Once strapped in, they enjoyed a light van snack, chatting and giggling, drinking water from sippy water bottles they made their way to Blue Blocks Complete School, Tellapur.
On arrival they were promptly received and taken to the class where they chose a mat and chowki to set up their workspace. So far the story followed a regular school day of any child except these “children” left their school days decades ago. They were a team from the work force of Google and were going back to school to experience #Childlikethinking.
The day progressed as they were introduced to their mentors for the day- the 6-9 year old children of Blue Blocks who opened a new gateway of thinking for these Googlers. They broke the ice with songs; Played a pop quiz on women’s day; worked with material that tested all of their sensorial perceptions.
Subjected to the challenge of cylinder blocks, the Googlers ran amok in the room trying to unearth the right cylinder from a mixed pile to fit in the right hole of the block. With their six-year-old mentors guiding the way, the Googlers each completed the filling up of the blocks with much fanfare and a sense of accomplishment.
They were then challenged on their knowledge of shapes and dimensions. Blindfolded they had to identify the solid shape in front of them before trying to draw it – still wearing the blindfold. They had tough task masters in their child mentors who insisted on specifics- were they were identifying a square based or a triangular based pyramid.
One could see the echoes of the childhood left behind, when they got excited at getting something right without any preparation. It was almost as if they all aced a spot test.
Then it was time for a more serious introspection. Blue Blocks founder Pavan Goyal took them back in time and got them to reacquaint themselves with their childhood selves. With eyes closed and mind focused, they relived the memories that inadvertently blocked their way forward in their areas of interest - sermons, orders and instructions they were subjected to as children, about not doing art in notebooks, missing a tournament final because they had a slip test, refusing to go up on stage because friends made fun of their accent or freezing on stage and never again getting on one- all memories every adult identifies with but ignores. In the end it was an eye-opener indeed because they were able to connect which of these memories influenced the way they were currently dealing with challenges in their personal and professional lives.
From then on it was a matter of self-discovery where the mentors helped them tap into a brain that was unblemished with prejudices or preconceptions just like that of a child. This was achieved using the Innovative Thinking Cards designed by Blue Blocks. So instead of asking how an orange can taste salty like any logical adult would, with the help of their mentors, the Googlers were able to build a story on leaving the salty orange to dry out in the sun and harvest the crystalised salt to sell it in the market!
Once they opened up their minds to possibilities it was time to test the same. With the unique Synesthesia activity designed exclusively for this workshop, Pavan Goyal asked the Googlers to apply all their senses while looking at something as mundane as a circle. They were asked to associate a colour, a smell, a sound, an emotion, a size, a taste, weight and temperature to simple geometric shapes and see how their perception towards the world altered in doing so.
Then when they painted to the tunes of changing music, their subconscious dragged out an emotional investment from them in the work they did and made them realise how these emotions influence this work.
And when they were faced with a real life problem they put their heads together for an Innovation workshop. With their minds freed to think all is possible, the Googlers and mentors were able to come up with indigenous ideas. Like in transport- they devised a teleportation devise that disintegrated people on one location and reassembled them pixel by pixel at a destination location. For housing- they were guided by six year olds to build a house on water where they could have easy access to swimming and not occupy land. For medical care- their seven year old mentors prompted the concept of a watch that spoke in their mother’s voice disabusing the wearer from eating junk food!
In the end it was a day dedicated to breaking barriers, to relish the innocence of childlikethinking and tapping into its endless possibilities. The Google children also evaluated themselves and the day spent at school and filled up their own Progress Report.
“It forced us to think without limitations.”
Ashutosh Kumar Mishra, Programme Manager with Google.
“It was a unique experience and has challenged me to think out of the box.”
Manan Gupta, Product Lead.
“Helped me connect with myself.”
Kirti Diwan, Programme Manager.
“Learnt about fearless leadership, to think beyond possibilities and without constraints.”
“It was a path breaking workshop.”
Blue Blocks Team that guided the experience for the “Google Children”