WAY 13Start by Asking What If … ?: Imagining a better future is the first step in building the solutions that will define it.

About the Way

“What if … ?” and “Imagine that …” are two of the most powerful phrases to say because these words create future possibilities. You induce someone to contemplate another way of doing something or to envision a different future beyond how we do things today. For example, what if we could give every preschooler the superpower to learn? Or imagine the research into keeping your pet dog alive a bit longer means you might have a 200‐year life span. Or as Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan wrote to girls worldwide in 2013, “If one girl with courage is a revolution, imagine what feats we can achieve together.”1

Humanity has always relied on the power of imagination. An early working theory of imagination is often attributed to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who defined imagination in terms of a universal human reaction to sensory input and, being a poet, also as an artistic vision. Today, researchers and labs, such as Professor Jim Davies at Carleton University and the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination at University of California, San Diego, study human imagination as a field of science via storytelling, psychological stimulation, and lately neuroscience techniques.

Companies and consulting firms have also embraced imagination in business practice. Consultants from the BCG Henderson Institute, Boston Consulting Group's think tank, argue that ...

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