Imagination, Fantasy & Innovation

Imagination and fantasy are linked with creativity, ie

"...the dynamic principle of fantasy is play, which also belongs to the child, and as such appears to be inconsistent with the principle of serious work. But without displaying fantasy, no creative work has ever occurred. The debt we owe to the play of imagination is incalculable..."

Carl Jung as quoted by Stephen Giugni, 2006

"...children ask great questions which make you rethink something or have to go back to first principles to explain it..."

Michele Simons as quoted by Tim Dodd, 2016

· Too often we see play and work as separate aspects of our lives; however, play needs to be integrated into our working environment. The process of nurturing imagination involves adoption of the philosophy that incorporates aspects of play - the people in an organisation must have the opportunity to extend and exercise themselves, to explore and learn

Imagination provides us with tools for developing pictures in our minds, for saying what can be and enabling us to do what has not been done before

Asking yourself the following questions

- when do you use your imagination most?

- when was the last time that you used your imagination?

- how often do you get to use your imagination?

- which impulses stimulate your imagination?

Thinking imaginatively requires the ability to broaden ideas and actively look beyond the here and now. Too often we want an immediate answer which causes us to focus too quickly and narrows the range of alternatives investigated

(source: Stephen Giugni, 2006)

"...Imagination is more important than knowledge..."

Albert Einstein as quoted by Walter Isaacson 2007

Some advice that Albert Einstein valued; was given by his boss when he was a patent examiner

"...You have to remain critically vigilant. Question every premise, challenge conventional wisdom, and never accept the truth of something merely because it is obvious. Resist being credulous...... when you pick up an application...... think that everything that the inventor says is wrong..."

Frederick Haller as quoted by Walter Isaacson 2007

Continually Einstein used music to help him solve problems that appeared unsolvable. He listened to music, and/or played it, to help him think

Furthermore, Einstein thought of himself as having the mind of a curious child



"...Innovation gains from a broader outlook, an ability to see potential connections between different subfields. The capacity to question certain assumptions and to think differently..."
Mat Alvesson at al, 2016a

Generally innovation makes organisations nervous as it is inevitably linked to risk. Most organisations remain averse to the aggressive investment and commitment that innovation demands.

Innovation requires more than just resources; it requires an organisational culture that continually guides members to strive for innovation and a climate that is conducive to creativity.

Innovation is holistic in nature, with the first stage involving the idea generation, then a second stage involving structured methodology. This second step is where new ideas must establish their feasibility and compatibility with the organisation's objectives. The third stage is commercialisation, ie making the idea operationally feasible.

Although innovation cannot be touched, heard, tasted or seen, it can be felt. It is a pervasive attitude that allows an organisation to see beyond the present and create the future. Innovation is the key driver for change.

The popular, romantic belief is that creativity, invention and innovation involved "flashes of genius". This situation is uncommonly rare. Effective innovation results from analysis and hard work.

The "do"s of innovation, ie things that have to be done

- analysis of opportunities and these come from 7 areas

i) unexpected successes and failures of your organisation and your competitors

ii) incongruities in process, production, distribution and/or customers' behavior

iii) process needs

iv) changes in industry and market structures

v) changes in demographics

vi) changes in meaning and perception

vii) new knowledge

- innovation is both conceptual and perceptual

There is the need to go out to look, to ask and to listen, especially with customers, ie consider their expectations, their values and then needs. Receptivity is important, ie having the right innovation in the right form and at the right time.

- effective innovations need to be simple and focused

- effective innovations start small

This is important as there are generally required adjustments and changes for the innovation to succeed

- successful innovation aims at leadership

The "don'ts" of innovation, ie things that should not be done

- do not try to be clever

Remember. inventions have to be handled by ordinary people

- do not diversify; do not splinter; don't try to do too many things at once

Innovations that stray from a core are likely to become diffuse


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