As human beings, our constant desire to think beyond the here-and-now DRIVES us to dream big, imagine the impossible, and achieve amazing things. Advancements like the wheel, the compass, the light bulb, the telephone, penicillin, air travel, and the Internet were all born out of the same basic premise: PEOPLE IMAGINED BETTER.
Using our imagination allows us the opportunity and ability to dream bigger than our surroundings, to think “outside of the box,” and to improve our lives at home and at work, IF we know how to tap into it…
We each possess this unlimited power of human imagination, yet few of us really use it.
Use it or Lose it?
Although one’s imagination may become weakened due to lack of use, here’s the good news: one’s imaginative abilities can be revived and activated. We all have the capacity to imagine, at any age. Imagination can be learned, fostered, and grown – in the proper environment…
In business, you can leverage your people’s imagination to create a corporate culture of innovation, capable of yielding tremendous results. Within the world’s most innovative companies (like Apple, 3M, Google, and Amazon), imaginations are activated, inspired, and put to use for the realization of radical ideas… Just take a look at Google’s driver-less car as one recent example.
In companies like these, imagination spawns creativity (an individual phenomena), and inspires management-led innovation (a team effort).
“Mans’ only limitation, within reason, lies in his development and use of his imagination.” – Napoleon Hill
Along these lines, you may have heard the term Imagineering – a process of combining “imagining” with “engineering.” In 1942, aluminum producer Alcoa coined the word Imagineering, stating: “Imagineering is letting your imagination soar, and then engineers it down to earth.” After WWII, Alcoa used this concept to produce three to five times as much aluminum as was ever made before, while making it cheaper than ever. Now that’s amazing.
To this day, Imagineering is a process many successful business organizations have adopted to envision “what could be.” Take Disney for example. Disney created a team called the “Imagineers,” responsible for the creation and development of Disney theme parks, resorts and cruises worldwide. Imagineering is a core concept used in their daily work, even today! The Disney Imagineers’ mantra is: “If it can be dreamt, it can be built.” As Walt Disney himself famously said, “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”
How can you begin to encourage this kind of out-of-the-box thinking as you plan for 2020? First, start by applying the following Disney Imagineering principles* to foster the use of creative thought in your sales team or business unit: (*Adapted from Alex Wright’s The Imagineering Field Guide to Disneyland.)
- Blue Sky: This describes the early stages of an idea-generation process when anything is possible. No reining in the creative process! At this point, the sky’s the limit! Think of it this way: What would things look like if everything were PERFECT? No limits. Anything goes…
- Brainstorm: Generate as many ideas as possible in the shortest time possible. Many brainstorming sessions are held regularly at WDI (Walt Disney Imagineering), always looking for the best ideas. Remember: there is no such thing as a bad idea and nothing should stifle the flow of ideas.
- Plussing: A word derived from Walt’s penchant for always trying to make an idea better. Imagineers are continually trying to plus work, even after it’s ‘finished’.
Think of practical ways to apply these techniques in your own business or area of responsibility! Imagine better. Leverage your imagination to always think of “what could be.” What could you accomplish in your organization if everyone were encouraged to imagineer more?
To help you along, try these techniques to boost your own imaginative abilities:
- Read more
- Try new things
- Explore your passions; develop your talents; play!
- Spend time with creative people
- Relax, meditate, and schedule down-time in your life to open your mind to imagining (This really works!)
Imagine better, make improvements to something, tackle an old problem in a new way, and create new value for your customers! Get fired up to begin to imagine what things would look like if everything were perfect, then work towards that goal – one step at a time. The success you achieve may be greater than you ever thought possible!
- Improve sales efficiency, lead conversion rates and close ratios
- Increase value-added sales activity, reduce wasteful admin processes
- Shorten sales cycle time
- Decrease lost opportunities
- Improve management’s view into sales analytics to inform business decisions
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Wishing you much success…
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