Saturday, December 1, 2018

Playing Innovation Oddball: Avoid Knowledge Traps

There are outliers, who take up the mantle of imagination and shine through to push the world forward. 

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 understand how and what forces we are dealing with in our journey. A great wealth of knowledge fuels imaginations. This, in turn, becomes things which can be useful. However, too much knowledge, especially if it’s outdated or too little knowledge will turn to be the trap of innovativeness.

Knowledge is important, but openness is more critical to spark innovation: 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 about practicing it. The possible answer lies in the conscious application of what we know and at the same time, stay open to the unknown, so that new thinking and knowledge can emerge. Imagine what can be accomplished by increasing knowledge and applying it to what one has imagined. 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.

Siloed or outdated knowledge is what leads to a decrease in imagination: Cross-pollinating ideas, collaborating and sharing are what spurs innovation.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, and 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. 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, as well as gives wings to the imagination. But if there's a paradigm shift, and then knowledge can be a hindrance.

Albert 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. Knowledge could be outdated. 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. 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 then, knowledge is not an impediment, it becomes a springboard.

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. People fear to be different. So, we stay within and restrain ourselves from going beyond. Thankfully, there are outliers, who take up the mantle of imagination and shine through to push the world forward. Should we then, look at, what stops knowledge from being an impediment to imaginations,, play the innovation oddball skillfully to fuel creativity.


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