In the Information Age—with the internet at our fingertips and augmented reality no longer a topic for science fiction—knowledge is more accessible than ever before. Technology acts as a portal and distributor of knowledge and, in many ways, levels the playing field.
So, if knowledge doesn’t offer the edge it used to, what does? According to Tom Monahan, former ad agency bigwig and a creative powerhouse, it’s imagination that holds the differentiating power knowledge used to.
When interviewed by HOWdesign.com back in 2008, Monahan commented that though we’ve come up with technology that “can do linear thought and come up with a conclusion,” that technology still “can’t use its imagination.”
How’s that for job security for creative professionals?
Imagination and innovation go hand in hand. In a previous post, we talked about methods for generating ideas and making innovation an action—becoming innovative in thought itself. So what if we flip the coin and look at innovation not from the individual’s perspective, but from an organizational point of view? What can organizations do to create an environment that nurtures and incubates innovative ideas?
Diego Rodriguez wrote an interesting article on businessweek.com, Happiness and the Art of Innovation, addressing how companies can support innovative thought. The gist: “help happiness bloom, and innovative behavior will follow.” Happy employees are more imaginative, more creative and more motivated.
Rodriguez goes on to talk about both personal happiness and achieving a state of mind referred to as “flow.” Summing up Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s concept of flow, Rodriguez says, “Flow occurs when the complexity of the thing you’re doing just outstrips your ability to get it done. In other words, it’s challenging, but not overwhelmingly so.”
As the article goes on to explain, happy people who are “in a state of flow” are more likely to innovate. Just as fearful employees are less likely to share ideas, bored employees are less likely to come up with new earth-shattering ones.
Read the full article here to learn more about the concepts of happiness and flow in relation to innovation and imagination. Then, see what you can do!