Creativity and innovation require imagination. Futurists, science fiction writers and Hollywood have always flirted with the impossible and in doing so, seeded the possible.
Consider Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the infiltration of robotics into our everyday lives. The original Lost In Space series ran from 1965-1968 and featured Robot. This AI protected Will Robinson and conversed and empathised with humans. In 2016 we are looking toward a future where machines could do most of our jobs. Sophia Robot has life-like skin, 62 facial expressions, can hold a conversation and is programmed to get smarter over time.
Star Trek hit television screens in 1966. “Beam me up” was the command given by Captain Kirk to Chief Engineer Scotty when he wanted to return to the Starship Enterprise. In September this year, physicists from Calgary teleported a photon (a particle representing a quantum of light) six kilometres. And if the rate of change continues to increase exponentially, we may be able to ‘beam’ ourselves to our favourite holiday destination before too long.
Last week, I spent three days immersed in possibility at the Ci2016 Conference. What crystalised for me was the critical role imagination plays in creativity and innovation. Yet the word was never mentioned. We have reached a stage of exponential growth where futurists and mums, corporates and SMEs are ‘imagining’ simultaneously, creating new products and services.
Businesses and organisations need to encourage and offer opportunities for imagination to surface in the workplace if innovation is to grow legs and break out of rhetoric. It’s time to ‘walk our talk’, accept failure as a step towards success and empower employees to work to their strengths.