Every time I visited my friends or family members who had 12-18 year olds (pre teens and teenagers) in the house, they were always taking pictures of themselves to post on they're social networking sites.
Now the advent of the digital camera makes taking numerous photos no problem. Unwanted photos can just be deleted, keeping the ones you like with no film wasted. However, anyone who has done this before also knows you may have to take the photo many times to get it "just right".
So, when I saw this process-taking place I would often laugh. I just do not ever remember when I was a teen; 1) having the ready availability of cameras (they were usually "adult" things that took some knowledge on how to operate and special film etc.), 2) when we did have cameras we were taking pictures of our friends or having others take pictures of us. In other words, being used in a real life social setting and 3) cameras were fairly expensive and one would not normally have more than one in the house scarcity.
Upon witnessing teen-aged people taking pictures of themselves I also created some interesting social observations that I thought were kind of ironic. The whole idea of "social networking" and getting tons of friends resolved in more people taking pictures of themselves vs. having more friends to take pictures of them. This big world of "virtual friends" really did not exist in the real world so they were creating an entire "realm of thought / consciousness" that simply did not exist when I was their age. We did not use cameras the way they do nor did we communicate with others in the way teens do now. We also did not have access to the technology that exists today.
So, was my mind programmed for the thoughts I had? Yes. Was my mind capable of creating prejudices about how cameras should be used? Yes. Was my lack of experience with social networks of the age making me not understand the need to take self-pictures? Yes. So what was the idea that was missing in this situation?
Nobody, not us adults, nor the kids using cameras, nor the folks who design cameras ever thought of the simplest modification to the camera to make taking self-portraits easier, a small screen on the FRONT of the camera that allowed the person taking the self-photos to see what they were taking a picture of, until Samsung came out with the Dual view digital camera.
Now in the grand scheme of things, this little invention may not rock the world so to speak. But this is a very good way of explaining how all of us think the world is what "we see", not necessarily what "could be". So the little digital display on the front of the camera was the "Elephant Idea", the idea that should have been obvious to all of us but simply was not.
This representation of how a modification of a product meets a need that develops with people's changing behavior, use of the technology or a combination of other factors can be applied to real life and the approach to solving "problems" that is employed by inventors and entrepreneurs .
When my boyfriend and I wrote our first book together "Double Click on This, Preschoolers and Computers" we learned one valuable lesson about teaching pre-school children- the process of learning is not as natural and straightforward as many think. In order to effectively teach, the learning process must first be "taught" or lets say encouraged and guided in children. This "learning process" is crucial as it enables individuals to absorb information freely, internalize it and add it to their growing basket of knowledge.
In life, human beasts are all too well taught the rules, boundaries and limitations of what they can or can not do instead of teaching which focuses on the limitless possibilities that exist in the world. It is often those "ah ha" moments in life that are the root of what drives an entrepreneurial spirit in people who figure out something that they can do that changes or improvements on ones experience. They capitalize on their newfound idea and essentially write their own rules from there on out. They create businesses, growing their ideas and employ people to help them in their mission.
Their ideas are often derived from situations we may see as boundaries, obstacles, or limits in life or they create a brand new product or solution where we did not even see one as possible, since the term "Elephant Idea". These Elephant Ideas come from those of us who understand learning is a life long journey and the easier we find it to learn anew, setting aside our pre-taught prejudices, the more we can go about exploring the world anew every day and find those " Elephant Ideas "that drive the next generation of entrepreneurs of our time.