Tuesday, July 14, 2015

CIO as "Chief Imagination Officer": Does Knowlege Fuel or Impede Imagination

Imagination is lost without knowledge.

Imagination is a muscle. The more it is used and practiced the stronger it becomes. For some, imagination is their daily practice; for others, it’s just a sweet memory about their childhood. Is knowledge the source of imagination, or is it an impediment to the imagination. Do you heartily agree with Einstein’s quote: “Imagination is more important than knowledge”?  

Imagination is lost without knowledge: Knowledge is the foundation of the imagination. We can use knowledge of the forces of the physics to guide us in the exploration of the earth or space, our imagination lets us dream of where we could go, knowledge helps us to understand how and what forces we are dealing with in our journey. Imagine what can be accomplished by increasing knowledge and applying it to what one has imagined. So a responsible use of knowledge is not an impediment to the imagination. Knowledge should be helpful for imagination - it helps to widen the fields and the scope. It gives wings to the imagination. A great wealth of knowledge fuels imaginations. This, in turn, becomes things which can be useful.

Knowledge is important, but openness is more difficult: Knowledge is important, but having a lot of knowledge about something can be a box that closes one's mind to innovation in that area. Openness is the most difficult thing to refresh your mind. And once you accept openness, the second most difficult thing is practicing it. The possible answer lies in the conscious application of what we know and at the same time stay open to the unknown, new thinking and knowledge can emerge. Curiosity stimulates a need to gain knowledge and knowledge is not just book knowledge, but intuitive knowledge feeds the imagination. And imagination flows freely when supported by the fluidity of thought and feeling. Children are a good example of having that kind of open-mindedness, curiosity, and joy for exploring. As Picasso famously said, "All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." As we grow up, we appear to gradually lose curiosity because we know; we also lose courage because we are aware of the consequences. So, we stay within and restrain ourselves from going beyond. Thankfully, there are outliers, who take up the mantle of imagination and shine through. Should we then, look at, what stops knowledge from being an impediment to imaginations.

Siloed or outdated knowledge is what leads to a decrease in imagination: Cross-pollinating ideas, collaborating and sharing are what spurs innovation. Having knowledge is a good thing, debating, sharing exploring what to do with that knowledge and connecting disparate ideas that don't seem to fit together naturally will lead to the true imagination! Our knowledge is always based on what's known. It's information that's been discovered. However, in order to take any entity to a new place, imagination has to be exercised to uncover and create something new. Knowledge can be useful in trying to understand if what's imagined can be achieved. But if there's a paradigm shift then the knowledge can be a hindrance. Often opinion is an impediment to imaginations. The disconnect, comes when we lose our vision, the attitude, people close down conversations because their personal exploration of an issue has either been exhausted, or tic-tac-toe like, they have found no way of resolving what's before them and, therefore, believe nothing more can be done. "It can't be done," or "if it could be done, someone would have already done it"; both of these opinions could impede imagination. Do not let opinions deter your imagination. Instead, feed your imagination with science and let the mind design the answers you need for the future.

Einstein well said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge." He's not saying knowledge is unimportant, we absolutely need knowledge. But knowledge is what is and what has been. While imagination is dynamic. It's anything you want it to be. So it's not the knowledge, it's what you do with that knowledge that can be creative, like using your knowledge of something, but in a new context. “Too much knowledge" in itself is not an impediment to the imagination, but failure to recognize how vastly ignorant we are at the same time leads to an arrogance that will not admit new thinking. So, it’s not about, how much knowledge you acquire, it’s about what impact that knowledge has on you. Does knowledge trap you or, does it sets you free to soar. Imagination is then, a choice you make irrespective of what you know or, what you are aware of and knowledge is not an impediment, it becomes a springboard. When we truly become knowledgeable, then we become more aware of what we do not know and that should ideally fuel our imagination.


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