Creativity and Imagination involve going beyond the obvious ‘passive’ questioning, and finding fresh ideas and approaches, that as a matter of fact start with the right questions, like:
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Pandemics, wars, and major social crisis create new kinds of attitudes, needs, and behaviors, which require mastering new skills and adjusting to the new realities.
One of the key factors in this unprecedented situation is the capacity to create, evolve, and carve out new pathways, new opportunities and a new passage towards growth. This is done by the power of Imagination.
Managers and leaders need to find time to stand back and reflect, steering away from the ‘fight or flight’ response for some time. While this is difficult in the midst of heavy demands, it is crucial as our narrow focus needs to be readjusted, and our response needs to become parasympathetic (Rest and Digest).
Some ways to reflect include deep breathing exercises, eating meals slowly and consciously, listening to or playing music or going for a stroll without your smartphone.
Collective Imagination is the key to success in the current circumstances. A good leader picks up, maps, and scales the ideas provided by individuals.
A system needs to be set up to facilitate communication and open up avenues for innovative ideas to come forward, and not merely dismiss them as being impractical or lacking common sense.
When a crisis requires a goal-driven, serious response, it is easy to overlook the power of Play, which is a critical accelerated learning capability.
The act of play makes us form interesting and innovative connections when we loosen our laser-sharp focused approach. Playing allows us to practice imagination, to improve our skills while facilitating inspiration.
Imagination is a challenging task under extreme circumstances and world-changing events like the current pandemic. It helps us go from adapting to the new environment to shaping it. A leader has to develop the capacity for imagination using the following imperatives:
During a crisis, the chronological way to handle things is usually:
Optimism and pessimism, both can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Our beliefs often shape our reality. Having a hopeful, can-do attitude works in favor of our solving the challenges. Pessimism and negative language often lead to a downward spiral and a feeling of despair in the team.
The cliche ‘thinking out-of-the-box’ is apt in this context. Imagination is triggered by the unexpected.
New solutions and breakthroughs are not apparent and maybe just an anomaly in the beginning. Digging into new pathways prompts reframing, rethinking and the discovery of new possibilities.
Even if the budget is low, it is important to experiment.
Testing theoretical ideas in the real world is a necessary step and often generates unexpected outcomes leading to further innovation and learning.
They are a powerful human mechanism for managing extreme emotions and stress, and we should be leaning on them now.
The utility of the ritual isn’t related to its practicality. Absurd rituals can have high utility. If it helps you create that sense of control, if it calms your anxiety, that’s what matters.
Growth evangelists are right when they state that severe lockdowns produce a parallel human misery of unemployment, looming bankruptcies, and extreme financial anguish. Yet, opening the economy too soon may produce mass death.
We need a new playbook for pandemic economics to govern our short-term reaction to the health crises.
If and when you return to your office after the pandemic, you'll probably notice some changes.
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