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The Imagination Machine: How to Spark New Ideas and Create Your Company's Future Kindle Edition
A guide for mining the imagination to find powerful new ways to succeed.
We need imagination now more than ever—to find new opportunities, rethink our businesses, and discover paths to growth. Yet too many companies have lost their ability to imagine. What is this mysterious capacity? How does imagination work? And how can organizations keep it alive and harness it in a systematic way?
The Imagination Machine answers these questions and more. Drawing on the experience and insights of CEOs across several industries, as well as lessons from neuroscience, computer science, psychology, and philosophy, Martin Reeves of Boston Consulting Group's Henderson Institute and Jack Fuller, an expert in neuroscience, provide a fascinating look into the mechanics of imagination and lay out a process for creating ideas and bringing them to life:
- The Seduction: How to open yourself up to surprises
- The Idea: How to generate new ideas
- The Collision: How to rethink your idea based on real-world feedback
- The Epidemic: How to spread an evolving idea to others
- The New Ordinary: How to turn your novel idea into an accepted reality
- The Encore: How to repeat the process—again and again.
Imagination is one of the least understood but most crucial ingredients of success. It's what makes the difference between an incremental change and the kinds of pivots and paradigm shifts that are essential to transformation—especially during a crisis.
The Imagination Machine is the guide you need to demystify and operationalize this powerful human capacity, to inject new life into your company, and to head into unknown territory with the right tools at your disposal.
From the Publisher
About the Author
Advance Praise for The Imagination Machine:
"We may not all be artists, but it's high time we started thinking like them. If you want to escape the tyranny of metrics and incrementalism, and if you're serious about confronting uncertainty with courage and creativity, this book is a great place to start." — Margaret Heffernan, author, Uncharted
"In today's business environment, the capacity to move beyond cookie-cutter models and copies of what others are doing is critical. That requires putting known things together in unforeseen ways; the ability to wonder, to get inspired when things fail or don't work; and to see surprises as sources of ideas. This book fills an important gap in our knowledge about how to systematically apply imagination, creativity, and learning to business strategy." — Jorgen Vig Knudstorp, Executive Chairman, LEGO Brand Group; former President and CEO, LEGO Group
"This book captures essential concepts of nurturing imagination as a sustainable organizational capability. Let's all ask active, open questions—and stay hopeful, as the book suggests." — Kai-Fu Lee, Chairman and CEO, Sinovation Ventures
"Creativity and imagination have increasingly become the key sources of outsized business success. Yet creativity and imagination aren't taught in most business schools, they're not encouraged in most business cultures, and they tend to be stifled by most popular management processes. Reeves and Fuller have written a delightful exploration of the imagination in business that should be read by any leader aiming for long-term success." — Alan Murray, CEO, Fortune Media--This text refers to the paperback edition.
- ASIN : B08DYFMC1X
- Publisher : Harvard Business Review Press (June 8, 2021)
- Publication date : June 8, 2021
- Language : English
- File size : 45647 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 375 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #249,924 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the authors
Top reviews from the United States
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I was curious to know to what "machine" in the title refers. Reeves and Fuller explain: "We use the word 'machine' because imagination is a tool, and companies are tools to serve public needs. Although imagination is somewhat unruly, there is no reason we cannot develop a more systematic approach to cultivating and using it, just as business has in other domains that depend on quirky characteristics of the mind, like advertising and human resources. And although the word 'machine' may evoke images of factories from the last century, modern machines are increasingly flexible and intelligent. A company worthy of the name imagination machine is one that can consistently reinvent itself and what it offers to the world."
Reeves and Fuller make brilliant use of several reader-friendly devices, notably "Good Questions to Ask" and "Organizational Diagnostic" sections that conclude Chapters Three to Eight as well as hundreds of illustrations throughout all ten chapters. I also want to congratulate them on the brief but substantialprofiles of organizations that have become "imagination machines." For example, Apple, BCG (Boston Consulting Group), Four Seasons, Google, Pfizer, Pixar, and Zappos.
These are among the passages of greatest interest and value to me, also listed to suggest the scope of Reeves and Fuller' coverage:
o Life cycle of ideas (Pages 11-19)
o Surprises that can trigger the imagination (12-14)
Note: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny.'" Isaac Asimov
o Games to trigger the imagination (36-37 & 88-89)
o Charles Merrill and Merrill Lynch (39-41)
o Rethinking mental models (43-62)
o How to broaden scope of scale when rethinking models (53-57)
o Accelerating imagination through action (70-75)
o Probing to collide mental models with reality to provoke feedback and surprise (76-86)
o Collective imagination (91-116)
o Evolvable scripts (117-139)
o Corporate scripts (124-130)
o Sustaining imagination (141-160)
o Supporting mental ambidexterity (144-160)
o Human collaboration with artificial intelligence (166-172)
o Rekindling imagination for sustained growth (177-185)
This book is a magnificent achievement. Reeves and Fuller provide an abundance of information, insights, and counsel that will help to prepare those who read it to establish and then continuously strengthen a workplace culture within which -- at all levels and in all areas -- imagination is most likely to thrive. That culture will resemble a machine to the extent that it consistently sustains worker efficiency and effectiveness throughout the given enterprise. Some of the most valuable material focuses on how to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of human collaboration with artificial intelligence.
I agree with Reeves and Fuller: "AI can free us from more routine activities; it can carry out core tasks, to which humans bring a layer of empathy; or it can provide an ongoing stimulus for imagination." Much of attention is directed to suggesting how different kinds of AI-human collaboration might play out across each of the areas examined in the book. I highly recommend checking out another book: Kai-Fu Lee's AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2018).
It remains for those who read their book to absorb and digest the information, insights, and counsel it provides, then use their enriched imagination to set and then achieve BHAGs, what Jim Collins characterizes as "Big Hairy Audacious Goals."
These are Martin Reeves and Jack Fuller's final thoughts. "Leadership and management tend to be centered on performance maximization, but even high-performing enterprises need to be reimagined to retain vitality in the face of complex and unpredictable challenges. This requires a new discipline of harnessing imagination and new leadership behaviors to support it. We hope that this book provides some first pragmatic steps in that direction."
In this context, I am again reminded of an insight of incalculable value, suggested by T.S. Eliot in his Four Quartets, Chapter 2 ("Little Gidding"):
"We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all of our exploring
Will be to arrive at where we started
And know the place for the first time."
Eliot reminds us that one of the greatest benefits of exploration is to increase one's knowledge, of course, but also to gain new perspectives on the knowledge we already possess. We must trust our curiosity to drive that relentless process of strategic inquiry...and also allow our imagination to inspire us (in Tennyson's words) "to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."
Chock full of examples of companies that have adapted to changing situations and adopted new directions as a result.
This is a must read for current and future leaders.
During their professional life, author Martin Reeves has advised many CEOs to shape successful business strategies in complex environments. In this book, he and Jack Fuller analyze and explain the role that imagination might play in building competitive advantage and finding new paths to growth.
The pandemic makes this book very timely. Today more than ever, organizations need to rethink their business models, relying on traditional strength but also daring to introduce and push new ideas, leveraging on strong leadership but also cultivating, nurturing and using imagination.
The book is filled with cartoons and graphics - it's not your traditional strategy book.
Top reviews from other countries
Dont expect this to be another 'quick read' business book - it's the opposite! You will be fully immersed in a journey into the unknown and The Imagination Machine will be your guide.