Potential: Revealed

Strategic Thinking, Innovative Ideas, Growth Marketing, and Revealing of Potential

Archive for January, 2009

Imagination

Albert Einstein once wrote that in science “imagination is more important than knowledge”. That’s a powerful thought. I suppose you might expect nothing less from an intellectual giant such as Einstein.

What resonated with me, as someone who often not only wants to understand but who finds fully understanding something (i.e., “knowledge”) to be particularly satisfying, is the caution it offered about seeing knowledge as the only worthy end (to some research you’ve conducted, a project you’ve managed, a business problem or opportunity you’ve worked hard on).

Further, in reading more about the context of Einstein’s writing this line, he is saying bluntly that science like many pursuits in life is really just a journey, full of unknowns and unfolding unendingly. At any given point in time there are many truths or facts that are well-accepted and proven but an infinite number more truths and facts that are quite unknown and sometimes seemingly unknowable. Particularly in science there are many areas of study that deal with phenomena that are not readily or directly observable.

Einstein,and other great scientists, made many of their most astounding breakthroughs using their imagination rather than getting stuck trying to understand the seemingly unknowable. They would imagine some alternative reality to what was known at the time, think through how this alternative world might look and how it might operate if it were discovered to be true, then go about experimenting, searching and testing as if the alternate view were indeed true. This gave them great freedom to work creatively rather than be confined by the “known”. As a non-scientist, for me at least, this was very revealing and refreshing – creativity and science go together! I think I thought before this that they were mutually exclusive.

I began to relate this to my work with business clients where we might be talking about a new product or concept, or a new approach to promotional marketing and other challenges where some facts are well known and many others are for practical purposes unknowable. In such a situation how do you proceed? Einstein would say, if I may be so bold as to speak for him, to first beware of investing all your time into trying to know everything. This is similar to the common advice to avoid “analysis paralysis”. He adds to this common wisdom a more unique point of advice: use your imagination and then be bold enough to just try it out! Experiment. Try. Fail. Try again with another approach.

This is of course no guarantee of success. Your imagination might fail you. But when faced with a big challenge, using your imagination can be a powerful tool to spur action and overcome inaction. At the very least, doing so will give you a taste of how Albert Einstein thought and that alone will be fun!

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Fabulous Prize!

To my steadfast and loyal readers (yes, there are a few) and those that amble by for whatever reason:

I see I am coming up on my 1000th visitor. In a previous post I commented that some popular blogs get that many each hour. I do not necessarily strive for a similar popularity but popularity can breed a true community and the valuable, candid interactions that come from it. I would say that this is my aim, to have a community of readers who find the content herein valuable enough to add to it with comments, links to other relevant content, or to debate with me and the blog’s community about whatever seems important to get right, to improve or discard if need be.

YOU can help and in doing so, win the aforementioned “fabulous prize”.

The prize: for the 1000th visitor I will give “one day of free consulting” on whatever topic he or she chooses. And I will do the same for the 2000th, then 3000th, and so forth.

No further obligation and I won’t put an expiration date on the offer. I figure if you have taken time to subscribe and participate then I hope to maintain a relationship with you for the long haul.

You can help by doing what you already do, which is subscribe to my blog. You can help even more by passing along the link to my blog and recommend it to your friends (no enemies, please 🙂 ). More readership increases the sharing amongst the community and will increase the velocity of my awarding the “1000” prize and with it your chances of winning!

OK, is the prize self-serving? Perhaps. I’m a small business person and I’ve got to earn a living and feed my family and this is (hopefully) an acceptable way to do some promotion along the way to building a better blog community. You can of course tell me if you think otherwise !

Thank you for your support in the meantime watch this space for the announcement of visitor 1000!