Imagination and Moving the Conversation Forward

The ability to look beyond one’s own experiences and to learn from others; to dream of possibilities rather than limitations is essential for success in today’s global market.

In a recent IBM study of more than 1 500 CEO’s from 60 countries in 33 industries world wide…

…chief executives believe that — more than rigor, management discipline, integrity or even vision — successfully navigating an increasing complex world will require creativity.

Last week I published a conversation with User Experience lead at Comcast Intearctive Media in Philadelphia, Debra Gelman. We discussed many of the essential elements to understand when designing for children.

This discussion reminded me of the time I spent working with 2-3 year olds in a pre-kindergarten class. The program was called “Open Sesame” and allowed for children who were identified with cognitive impairments / difficult behaviors, an opportunity to experience a typical classroom environment to better prepare them for entry into the public school system.

What always amazed me about working with children of this age was their remarkable capacity to simply give any situation a try! Problems were seen as opportunities, and there was nothing that they could not create within the vastness of their own imagination!

I believe in order to develop the creative capacity in our future leaders, as IBM has shown is a must, not a nice-to-have; in a world obsessed with controlling the conversation and owning ideas, we should be asking questions such as “how do we design for a loss of control?” Or as Futurist Richard Seymour states, quite succinctly…

Because you can do it, you do it. We’re now at a stage in the 21st century where we don’t need to talk about what we can do, we need to think about what we should do.

However, in order for the conversation to shift back to what we should be doing, as Mr. Seymour illustrates, we need to start being conscious of the need to reconcile rather than compromise.

We need to ensure we understand the differences between critiquing versus that of criticizing insights shared by team members; as was illustrated beautifully at a recent UPA Boston event by Alla Zollers (@azollers) and Adam Connor (@adamconnor).

Boston UPA – Design Critique

We must become better at communicating both online and offline!

If we can find the patience and strength to reconcile differences in experiences; open up and share ideas through creative processes rather than adding to an already overwhelming set of rules that restrict the flow of creativity; I believe we can start more conversations by saying “What if…”

Imagine working in an environment where people worked and shared with such passion as this young drummer? Do you think there could be any limitation with respect to what we could create? What if…we gave that a try for a little while?