I am now back refreshed and relaxed after my cruise around the Baltic Sea. Although I chose to avoid laptops and tablets for the duration, Scandinavia in particular gave me some interesting insights into some aspects of innovation and entrepreneurship.
Whether it was imaginative ways to produce a carbon neutral city as they aim to do in Copenhagen, whether it was about non-intrusive methods of alternative, sustainable energy production, whether it was a stimulating idea for children such as the Experimentarium in Copenhagen harbour, or whether it was ideas such as growing grass on roof tops as insulation, or the conversion of the hop on, hop off bus to the hop on hop of boat in Stockholm harbour, I was impressed by many ingenious and creative ideas.
I have seen power stations being constructed with a ski slope on top, I have seen beaches being constructed in a harbour alongside harbour pools which are so clean they are blue flagged and I have seen an opera house roof used for cliff diving.
But given that Legoland has been voted the best toy ever, and Denmark is its home, I should not be surprised. However, the list did provide one or two surprises. Firstly the lack of electronic toys was noticeable with none in the top five. However, the humble frisbee did make it to number four. Could it be that the ability to freely express ones self with the frisbee is part of its attraction.
What is noticeable about the list is the number of toys where there isn't a right or wrong answer and where the ability to express one's own creativity, imagination or thought processes consistently appeals.
But, the most surprising result was the toy that came in at number nineteen. At least it was surprising to some, but not to those of us that have been pushing for more creativity for children and less of following fashions and fads or parents forcing children down routes that the parents want the child to go down.
At number nineteen in the all time top toys was one that allows endless amounts of creative play. It is something that will allow a child to stretch their imagination and to enter a creative world of their own without preset rules and instructions. It is also within the reach of all parents regardless of income.
At number nineteen in the top toys of all time is the CARDBOARD BOX!!