“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination points to all we might yet discover and create.” Albert Einstein
Einstein without argument or debate is considered to be one of the most intelligent men in history. Yet, this quote gives a profound insight into the thinking of a great genius. It presents us with two aspects of human endeavour, what is known and what is unknown. This is captured in two words, knowledge and imagination.
Many of us pursue knowledge which is a necessary and all important pursuit if one is to survive. Yet, Einstein would be of the opinion that this isn’t the most important thing. Rather, our capacity or faculty to imagine is more important than having a deep repository of knowledge. The simple reason is that knowledge has a lot to do with what we know. We may never truly discover or create anything new if we build on all that we currently know.
What has brought about some of the greatest inventions and innovations is the ability of these individuals to tap into their psyche and create pictures of possibility. Our imagination represents a liberty to dream and envision something different and unique. If people are to live on the moon in the not so distant future it will be the effect of a rich imagination.
Skype Home “It doesn’t matter what is happening to the economy, government or your industry. It matters what is going on in your imagination if you have a rich imagination then you are going to have rich experiences.” Mark Victor Hansen
We know that the world economy is headed for a tumultuous time, that certain governments are passionately driven to abuse office and that some industries are in decline yet, none of these can hinder a rich imagination. As Mark Victor Hansen says we can have rich experiences. Imagine what life on Pluto will be like in 2050. What we presently know may inhibit such thought but a rich imagination us the unfettered blank canvas that amazing futures will be built on.
Thus, competitive advantage isn’t built on what we know, information or know-how alone, but on the ability to foresee and perceive a unique future. So knowledge (information) is necessary but if we are to truly explode into the future we need a healthy and dynamic imagination.
“Information is already a commodity. Those who believe that more and more information will do their thinking for them, solve their problems, design their products and form their strategies will find themselves falling behind. Design is needed to get value from raw data. The brain can only see what it is prepared to see.” Edward De Bono 2006–07–08 21:18. Learning management system.
Finally, we’re living in the information age and there are endless streams of knowledge accessible to us at the click of a button. Edward De Bono says design is needed to create value from raw data. By implication I would say he means that imagination is necessary. The only way to create lasting value and competitive advantage is when we use imagination to design something that will unlock new value from what we now ‘know’ that it is possible. There is more out there to create and discover like an atmosphere manipulator to allow us to freely visit the moon without expensive space suits.