Today I spoke with the leadership group of a major corporation dealing with change management issues. They were rightly concerned with the fact that their people might freak out at a shift in organizational structure and sales processes. Nothing new, I suppose. As I talked with them about dreaming and the effect that it had on imagination and adaptability, it dawned on me that as a society we are anemic in our ability to imagine new possibilities and then design them into our lives.
Imagination, one of the master skills of the 21st century, is woefully underdeveloped virtually across
the board. Over 10 years ago, Daniel Pink suggested that the new skills of the Information Age would be:
In fact, I was asking a teacher whether or not she thought dreaming was taught in schools. Her answer, "It's not. If anything it is the opposite."
If it is true that schools are not only committing the sin of omission by not teaching imagination and dreaming but they are also committing the sin of commission then we are at threat level midnight!
We have to help our children to dream! We have to teach them to imagine! Not so they can enjoy Disneyland more but so they can compete in a radically changing business environment.
So, I feel bad for those corporate leaders who are trying to get their teams to change and to imagine that different can be better. Those they lead, in fact most of us, have been taught to be rocks our whole lives and now they are expecting them to fly.
There are ways to teach dreaming that will work in schools/companies. There are ways of encouraging and developing the skill set of imagination. Teachers/leaders you have the inestimable challenge of trying to teach dreaming in an environment that at times seems antithetical to it. You can do it! But it will require imagination!