But Can You Outsource Imagination?
Consider cultivating time to consider
One persistent problem in today’s workplace: no time to think.
Open floor plans contribute to constant interruptions, as do the barrage of meetings we file into and out of most days. Projects have fast timelines, which do not lend themselves to fully consider ramifications—so we default to action.
And as Curtis White might say: our deep involvement in (what seem to be) sacred institutional processes precludes us from using our imagination. The way we get things done—all those guidelines and guardrails—also serve as blinders, shuttling us down the same paths again and again. We stop seeing other ways to do things. Maybe we stop seeing that there are other things worthy of our attention.
As freelance copywriter, I see this all the time: friends and colleagues embroiled in their system so deeply they forget to imagine the larger issues having just as much impact. One of the great privileges of my work is to come alongside friends and colleagues to think through an issue from a different perspective. Of course, no one hires me to think (thought that sounds like the perfect job). They hire me to write stuff. But in the process of systematically going through their marketing campaign or explaining how a product works or working through the medical literature, new perspectives pop up. Things my client has not yet considered. Small tweaks to a product or presentation that make a huge difference in the outcome.
Though your workday may seem too tight to think through an opportunity or problem, isn’t it in your best interest to carve out the time to do just that? You can off-load many project tasks, but it takes fresh imagination—possibly sparked by an hour away from your desk—to see things differently. A fresh take can make all the difference in the world.
Image credit: Kirk Livingston