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Bring your imagination to work

In this brave new world, ideas are the greatest currency.

The pace of change in the work world is increasing exponentially at a dramatic rate. A Center for Creative Leadership report highlights a startling prediction "that we will face the equivalent of all the milestones of the 20th century--world wars, creation of the automobile, sequencing of DNA, rise of the Internet, etc.,--in a single week in the year 2025." And you can expect such dramatic change to keep coming at an ever-accelerating rate.

What does that mean for you? The need to bring your creativity to work has real-life relevance to anyone looking to get ahead. If you want to advance and thrive, you need to start thinking creatively about your field and start pitching ideas. Don't wait around for your boss or someone else to assign you the job of coming up with better ways to do things or assign you the task of dreaming up an idea for a future product or service. Just start doing it. Be attentive to your daydreams and associations, write them down as soon as you can, keep a record, explore and develop those that seem worthy, and then communicate them when you're ready.

In other words, don't wait for your company to give you the green light to dream up new ideas--just do it.

Ever-growing need for creativity

The Internet, a global workforce, and global economy have changed the speed of doing business, creating increasing levels of complexity and competition. As a result, creativity can no longer be considered a luxury reserved for those in the art department. It's now a much required skill for everyone from those at the helm to those hunkered down in the front lines of cubicles.

"The economy here in the U.S. is moving much more toward a thought economy and away from a manufacturing or widget base," Tim Brown, an expert on staffing for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), told me in an interview. "We're being paid to think now disproportionately more in the United States than we're being paid to manufacture and produce something. Because of that, organizations are having to find ways to engage employees to become more creative."

Adapt to survive; Create to thrive

Gone are the days in which we can apprentice our way through the years until we become the master of our craft, sharing our carefully honed techniques with the next generation. Now by the time we master some new technology, system, style, or skill, it all changes, and we have to learn a new one.

Today we need to move fast, multitask, have a wide breadth of general knowledge, and be innovative, not reactive. By the time we read about a good idea in the paper, it's already passé. Success belongs to those on the cutting edge, who can dream up ideas and solutions and make things happen. Those of us with our heads down, lost in the tunnel vision of task, are going to be left behind.

© Text by Amy Fries
© Photo by Pesky Monkey;
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About the Author
Amy Fries

Amy Fries is a writer and editor. She is the author of Daydreams at Work: Wake Up Your Creative Powers.

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