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Imagination First
Unlocking the Power of Possibility

By Eric Liu and Scott Noppe-Brandon

Summary by Lynne Haley Rose, Business Book Summaries

Imagination is an immensely powerful tool; when tapped, both individuals and companies have almost limitless access to creativity, innovation, and competitive advantages. In Imagination First, co-authors Eric Liu and Scott Noppe-Brandon examine imagination from every perspective to offer individual and group strategies for unlocking its infinite power as a driving force in business, politics, education, and the arts.

Individuals with strong imaginations are able to create and innovate—vital ingredients to a growing economy and world leadership. The future of society relies on imaginative leaders, and as a result, educators must train students to think in terms of What if... rather than What is.

The following "Capacities for Imaginative Learning" are ways for people to access their imaginations:

• Noticing deeply
• Embodying
• Questioning
• Identifying patterns
• Making connections
• Exhibiting empathy
• Creating meaning
• Taking action
• Reflecting and assessing

Imagination First offers 28 ½ Practices for exercising the imagination on a regular basis:

Make Mist—cultivate imaginative stimulants
Leave the Campfire—explore the dark
Flip What’s Foolish—be a fool
Make Way for Awe—seek inspiration
Reinvent the Wheel—look again
Think Inside the Box—use restrictions
Hoard Bits—collect
Mix Your Metaphors—form new analogies
Renew Your Narrative—reinvent yourself
Untie Your Tongue—eliminate jargon
Swap Bodies—role play
Make A Gap—invite collaboration
Finish the Story
Chunk It—make it manageable
Don’t Blink—look
Cloud Appreciation—play
Spotlight Off, Lantern On—broaden perceptions
Play Telephone—adapt and revise
Help Out a Boobonian—problem solve
Teach Non-Zero Math—expand to divide
Microexperiement—test theories
Rewrite History—ask "what if..."
Design for the Hallway—foster creative conversation
Routinize Randomness—plan for surprise
Ride the z-axis—explore dimension
Challenge Your Challenges—inspire imagination
Break the Hand—try new methods
Yes, and...—be expansive
Fail Well—learn from mistakes

Imagination First speaks not to individuals but to a collective audience, which is where imagination is most effective. Co-authors Eric Liu and Scott Noppe-Brandon conclude that "the goal for any healthy organization is to create epidemics of imagination."

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