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ALT TEXT: imagination is mandatory in business
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If you landed upon this article in a search for a ‘silver bullet’ that has the power to solve many of your organization’s innovation issues, and ensure your organization not only survives the near future but thrives in it… harnessing the power of imagination could be your golden ticket to growth.

With imagination, we can draw on our experiences and knowledge and combine them to create innovative solutions

When put to good use, our imagination can help us create a more productive, more efficient, more valuable solutions to pressing organizational problems  Whether with how we do things internally, or the quality of the innovative solutions we’re offering to customers. 

Most Organizations Fail To Unleash The Power of Imagination

The majority of organizations don’t take full advantage of their people’s imaginative and creative power… and in some cases stifle it. And the problem starts with an over-reliance on knowledge.

What do I mean by this?

If you think about the way people are trained to do a role, whether in school, at university, or when they get to work – it’s knowledge focused.

From day 1, they’re taught about the best practices that have already been developed to solve a problem, and how they can use them to solve organizational problems and complete tasks day-to-day.

When we teach people to have deep competencies in the work they do and to use these best practices… we unknowingly train them to be reactors, not creators.

So when a problem arises, they recognize a pattern, see what’s wrong, and then react with whatever action you trained them to take. “If this happens, do that.”

Don’t get me wrong, they’ll get the job done and the task completed with this kind of programming… but what you probably won’t get from them is the innovative solution or approach that you didn’t tell them to follow. 

If you rely too heavily on knowledge, your people will default to following orders. They won’t use their imagination, challenge the status quo, suggest innovative ideas, and you won’t grow and thrive. 

In the Age of innovation, it’s these unique, new approaches that drive rapid growth and value for organizations.

None of the luxuries we take for granted today would be available to us now if it weren’t for people going against the grain and imagining a bold new path. Relying more on creativity and imagination than knowledge and best practices.

Take the Wright Brothers, for example…

Did the Wright Brothers have any knowledge about planes, how they worked, and how to best build them?

Of course not! They didn’t have any knowledge because it had never been done before. That didn’t stop them though…

If it wasn’t for their willingness to allow their imagination to go somewhere else that new, and even places that others would consider stupid… we wouldn’t have the plane today. 

OR it wouldn’t have been invented by the Wright Brothers.

As Albert Einstein said, “Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”

 

Why Imagination is Crucial To Business Success

ALT TEXT: Imagination drives innovation

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The Need For Imagination is Increasing

There’s no doubt in my mind that imagination is continually becoming more essential to organizations who want to thrive not only today but long into the future.

An article in the Harvard Business Review backs up my own experience. In it, the authors Joseph Pine and James Gilmore state ‘the evolution of economic activity is driven by a competitive obligation to create value over and above commodity goods and services.’

This prediction was in the early stages of the internet, so I’d bet the authors would have underestimated just how much a global workforce and economy would speed up this trend and affect the way we do organization.

The two driving forces of the need for imagination in the market are…

1. Increased complexity of new solutions.

Nowadays, to overthrow or even defend against competitors takes more imagination. If you ask Stanford, they’d tell you that big ideas are becoming harder to find. Many of the ‘obvious solutions’ have been thought of and implemented already, meaning organizations and their people need to invest more resources, time and talent if they want to compete.

2. Heightened levels of competition.

According to experts at DMN, their survey revealed that organizations have more competitors to fend of today than ever in history. Again, this means organizations who want to stay relevant have to be better at using imagination and innovation to defend themselves, as well as create new ideas.

The Economy Favours Imagination

As I explained in my article on Why Innovation is Mandatory in The Future Economy, customers don’t care who comes up with new ideas, and who leads the market. They favour whichever organization successfully innovates, for as long as they do so.

The increased levels of competition mean that in today’s economy, ideas are almost out-dated by the time we hear of them.

True success is awarded to the organizations who have their finger on the pulse of the market, and adapt rapidly. Those who are too busy ‘doing business as usual’ are the ones who fall behind or are replaced.

In a climate like this, taking advantage of imagination and harnessing its full potential is a mandatory pursuit.

The kind that if achieved, could quickly earn an organization their spot on the leaderboard. (Along with the mind-blowing profit and growth that market leaders enjoy.)

Imagination Drives Innovation & Sets Organizations Apart

Imagination is the resource that allows organizations to set themselves apart from the pack — something essential when the competition is fierce and in high numbers.

A lack of imagination is what’s responsible for the failure of many organizations. The market is full of ‘copycats’ who approach marketing, sales, and creating value in the same way.

What they think will shortcut their growth and provide the same results as those they copy, ends up making them indistinguishable. If customers don’t understand why you’re different or better, they won’t buy. 

That’s why organizations need to empower people to use frameworks, tools and techniques that allow their people to use their imaginations. (And train those who don’t know how.)

Providing the tools, training, resources and support they need will drive massive growth for your organization.

I mean, who doesn’t want their teams to come up with better product ideas or more effective internal systems?

Imagination Boosts Team Productivity

The benefits of imagination go far beyond setting your organization apart and radiate across your organization. 

It’s proven that morale, engagement and productivity go through the roof when organizations foster creativity and imagination. Think about it…

If your organization:

  • Encourages creativity and imagination
  • Trains staff to be more innovative
  • Rewards those who provide new ideas

Why wouldn’t people feel more interested, engaged and inspired? 

Not only would you attract higher quality talent, but your organization would also be more innovative, more competitive, stable, and profitable too!

Imagination Drives Customer Loyalty

While I’m sure the above is reason enough to make harnessing the power of imagination a top priority… innovation also keeps your customers happy.

A well-trained imagination can be a source of countless innovative ideas you can use to better serve and satisfy your customers.

Take Zappos as an example…

Much of their rise to success is founded on 3 simple improvements to the way things were done:

  1. Having native-English speaking service staff answer the phones.

  2. Offering overnight shipping on all orders, regardless of price.

  3. And their most popular idea – providing free return delivery if the shoes don’t fit. 

While many of these have become the norm, they were the first to take this approach. The reason no one else went in this direction is they thought it was a stupid idea. After all, those ideas would cost the organization money and reduce their profit margins. 

In reality, they earned Zappos the leaderboard in their industry, won them significant market share, and dramatically increased their customer base. Which would have made up for the reduced margins… and then some!

 

Imagine Your Way To A Better Organization

ALT TEXT: Imagination for more innovative organization 

SOURCE: Pexels.com

As you can see, imagination is becoming ever more critical and valuable to organizations of all sizes and in all industries.

Those who don’t take advantage of its power are quickly replaced by those who do. Happy customers, productive teams, and increased profits are rewards earned only by those who tap their people’s imaginative abilities.

For those who are serious about imagination, I offer a range of creative services that are proven to help organizations to utilize imagination and accelerate organization-wide innovation and growth. 

 

SOURCES:

  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13662716.2018.1440196?journalCode=ciai20
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/larrymyler/2017/02/23/7-ways-to-make-your-business-stand-out-in-a-crowd-of-competitors/#cfb2ef462fa9
    https://blog.catmedia.com/creativity-its-important-for-your-business
  2. https://skillcrush.com/2018/09/10/use-your-imagination-at-work/
  3. https://hbr.org/2018/01/the-future-of-human-work-is-imagination-creativity-and-strategy
  4. https://www.themuse.com/advice/10-ways-your-imagination-can-make-you-better-at-your-job
  5. https://www.thejournal.ie/readme/the-power-of-imagination-1553363-Jul2014/
  6. https://www.forbes.com/sites/gregsatell/2014/07/26/today-imagination-is-the-most-important-business-skill-heres-why/#4b65c11e1def
  7. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-power-daydreaming/201011/bring-your-imagination-work
  8. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/5-reasons-imagination-is-_b_6096368
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/gregsatell/2014/07/26/today-imagination-is-the-most-important-business-skill-heres-why/#729910071def
  9. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0148296316302107

LINKEDIN/EMAIL POST:

The majority of organizations don’t take full advantage of their people’s imaginative and creative power… and in some cases stifle it.

Teams are trained to ‘follow orders’ instead of being asked to create innovative solutions to problems.

And they’re surprised when they are disrupted out of existence?

Happy customers, productive teams, and increased profits are rewards earned only by those who tap their people’s imaginative abilities.

#innovation #collaboration #creativity 

 

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