The Stinky and Dirty Show is a great innovation tutorial.

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I love it when my grandchildren come to visit because I learn so much from them. A couple of weeks ago, 10-year-old Banks was here and introduced me to Fortnite. This weekend, 4-year-old Thomas arrived and introduced me to “Stinky and to Dirty.”

“Stinky and Dirty” is an Amazon cartoon series for kids. It shows the adventures of best friends, Stinky the Garbage Truck and Dirty the Front-End Loader. The series is based on children’s books by Kate McMullen.

Stinky and Dirty have many challenges in life. Their adventures involve solving problems and achieving goals. A problem might be a huge rock in the middle of an intersection blocking traffic in all directions. A goal might be to clear away the debris from a vacant lot to help turn it into a park.

When you and I get into situations like that, the first thing we try hardly ever works. It’s the same for Stinky and Dirty. What sets them apart from most of us is that they keep going. They think and then ask, “What if…?”

“What if…?” starts them on their next trial. There are lots of trials. Just like real life, Stinky and Dirty need to try several things to get the result they want. They keep at it.

They solve their problem or achieve their goal with what they’ve got. Usually, that means they solve it with garbage from Stinky’s truck. That’s the way most of us must do it. No one swoops in with a great new solution or a great new product. We’ve got to do the best we can with what we have, just like Stinky and Dirty.

Sometimes, they need help. Good news! Dirty has a two-way radio that can summon help. To get that boulder out of the intersection, one trial involved calling “Chip,” who arrived with a jackhammer. Alas, that didn’t work, but they kept trying. They always asked, “What if …”

There are a lot of great books about innovation. There are courses you can attend. But you can get the essence of what innovation is by watching a couple of episodes of Stinky and Dirty. Thomas and I watched several over the weekend, and our catchphrase became “What if…?”

Bottom Line

Innovate like Stinky and Dirty. Try things. When things don’t work the way you expect, ask “What if…?” and try something new. Keep trying. Use what you’ve got and get help if you need it. What if you could learn to innovate like Stinky and Dirty?

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