Imagination First: Unlocking the Power of Possibility
October 2009, Jossey-Bass
The best corporations know that innovative thinking is the only competitive advantage that cannot be outsourced. The best schools are those that create cultures of imagination. Now in paperback, Imagination First introduces a wide-variety of individuals who make a habit of imaginative thinking and creative action, offering a set of universal practices that anyone can use to transform their life at work, home, and play. These 28.5 practices will enable anyone to become more imaginative and to teach others to do so as well from corporate executive to educator to platoon sergeant. Bonus content includes
- Winning "practices" submitted by the public
- Guidelines for educators who want to cultivate creativity in their classrooms
- Expanded resource section
The book is filled with illustrative stories of creative leaders, teachers, artists, and scientists that clearly illustrate the original practices and new material that shows how to bring imagination to life.
Lincoln Center Institute.
Part One:The Premise.
What, Why, and How.
Part Two:The Practices.
Practice 1: Make Mist.
Ready, get still, go.
Practice 2: Leave the Campfire.
Know your enemy: it is you, scared.
Practice 3: Flip What's Foolish.
Make it wise to be foolish, and every fool will generate wisdom.
Practice 4: Make Way for Awe.
Nurture humility and the wonder that comes with it.
Practice 5: Reinvent the Wheel.
Be willing to give back the givens.
Practice 6: Think Inside the Box.
Make greedy, grateful use of limits.
Practice 7: Hoard Bits.
Collect obsessively; sift; trust that the right bits will emerge.
Practice 8: Mix Your Metaphors.
Change the metaphors that frame your reality.
Practice 9: Renew Your Narrative.
Ask whether your story still serves you.
Practice 10: Untie Your Tongue.
Talk about your work with someone who doesn't understand it.
Practice 11: Swap Bodies.
Lose yourself in a role.
Practice 12: Make a Gap.
Obscure part of the picture.
Practice 12.5: Finish the Story.
Make the ending open-ended.
Practice 13: Chunk It.
Show how small it all starts
Practice 14: Don't Blink.
Snap in slow motion; see how you get primed for decision.
Practice 15: Cloud Appreciation.
Search out ambiguity and sit with it.
Practice 16: Spotlight Off, Lantern On.
Trade sharp focus for full-field awareness.
Practice 17: Play Telephone.
Engage in meaning-laundering.
Practice 18: Help Out a Boobonian.
Make every task a quest.
Practice 19: Teach Nonzero Math.
Expand the pie before dividing it.
Practice 20: Microexperiment.
Test your hunches playfully.
Practice 21: Rewrite History.
Turn "what would've been" into "what could be"
Practice 22: Design for the Hallway.
Let informal spaces thrive.
Practice 23: Routinize Randomness.
Regularly rinse out expectations.
Practice 24: Ride the z-axis.
Find elemental forms, then play with scale.
Practice 25: Challenge Your Challenges.
Find better problems.
Practice 26: Break the Hand.
Unschool yourself periodically.
Practice 27: Yes and . . . .
Never say no to an idea.
Practice 28: Fail Well.
Treat failure like a skill.
Practice X: Make Up Your Own.
Part Three:The Purposes.
For Further Exploration.
Eric Liu is the founder of the Guiding Lights Network, dedicated to mindful and imaginative mentorship. His previous books include Guiding Lights: How to Mentor and Find Life's Purpose, the official book of National Mentoring Month; The Accidental Asian: Notes of a Native Speaker, a New York Times Notable Book; and the national bestseller The True Patriot, which he co-authored with Nick Hanauer. A former White House speechwriter and senior advisor to President Bill Clinton, Eric is now an educator and civic entrepreneur in Seattle.
Scott Noppe-Brandon is executive director of Lincoln Center Institute (LCI), the leading organization in developing skills of imagination through guided encounters with the arts. A noted speaker and author, Scott has helped start numerous public schools and is an ardent campaigner for arts and imagination in education.