Instagram. Within two years of its inception, this hugely popular app acquired over 30 million iOS users and a further 1 million new users within 12 hours of its release on the Andriod market. Despite its obvious popularity, the news on 9 April 2012 that Facebook was acquiring the photo-sharing service for $1 billion still came as a shock to most and got me thinking about the creative process that goes into taking an idea and transforming it into a multi-million dollar reality.
As Kim-Mai Cutler points out in her article “From 0 to $1Billion In Two Years: Instagram’s Rose-Tinted Ride To Glory” the concept of Instagram was not about making money. Founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger were first and foremost focussed on the user experience. They worked on a number of different versions of a photo-sharing app before finally hitting the jackpot with Instagram. They weren’t afraid to think outside the square, to start over in order to get it right and to think big. They actively engaged in the creative process and managed to create an app that, purely through organic growth, has managed to climb the heights of the mobile app world.
It is clear that while the mobile era is only just bringing, innovation and creativity are key components with any internet success story. It may come as no surprise then that the co-founders of one of the biggest internet success stories, Google, were schooled in Montessori. Larry Page has credited Montessori with giving him the ability to do “things a little bit different”. One of the cornerstones of the Montessori education system is providing a child with freedom – freedom of choice, freedom to think for themselves and freedom to be creative. As we recognise the need to foster innovative thinking, we need to create an environment which can cultivate the necessary conditions for people to innovate and be successful. Montessori is that unique teaching method which blends a spontaneous learning environment with active encouragement. Even though it is now over 100 years old, the Montessori way seems almost tailor-made for the creative technological era we are entering by encouraging creative and independent thought. Who knows what future Instagram-like innovators we may be encouraging today?