There are four ingredients that are the most important for achieving Imagineering success. They are Creativity, Completivity, one or another aspect of STEM, and Teams. These ingredients are discussed in the following notes.
Elements of Creativity
Everyone agrees that creativity is important. They also tend to agree that creativity includes many different elements. Creativity as I see it is covered pretty well by the following elements.
Strong desire to successfully create
Indifference to rules and conventions
High level of observing and sensing
High level of curiosity and questioning
Desire to experience and experiment
Persistence: ability to fail and try again
Tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity
Networking – the tangled web in action
System thinking and whole brain thinking
Playfulness – or craziness, if you will
Powerful, highly-developed intuition
Ability to associate and synthesize
Instinct to simplicate and add lightness
Instinct to find and include synergies
The large number of ingredients of creativity might seem to make it difficult, but actually they make creativity easier. You don’t have to be perfect in all the elements. We will discuss this in more detail when we talk about how to become an Imagineer.
The Nature of Completivity
Everyone has heard about creativity again and again. But it is quite possible that you have never heard about completivity. What is going on? Creativity gives rise to good ideas. Many of these ideas are patented. But what percentage of patents results in important successful innovations? Less than one percent. So there are many, many good ideas, but much, much fewer successful innovations. The difference is completivity, the process of carrying good ideas out in the world to success. That is the job of the Imagineer.
Elements of Completivity
To be good at completivity the Imagineer, in my mind, needs to be conscientious, collaborative, and combative. So besides creativity, that results in a combination of the following elements. The values of these elements can be tested by looking at the top leaders of the most successful high tech companies around today. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and the folks at Google all closely match, or did match, these characteristics.
Instinctively thorough, careful, and vigilant
Hard-working, reliable, and loyal to the job
Strong desire to do the task in hand well
Motivated to test, check, and recheck
Takes personal responsibility for success
Good team player in a multidiscipline group
Highly empathetic to needs of customers
Works well in the tangled web of innovation
Instinctively seeks skunk works environment
Collaborates with competition when necessary
Willing to fight hard for what is right
Willing to fight for the innovation team
Willing to fight when out-numbered
Willing to fight tough competition
Willing to fight inappropriate rules
Willing to fight to fire the boss, if and
when the boss needs to be fired
As was true for creativity, completivity includes a fairly large number of elements. In the same sense as for creativity this makes completivity easier rather than harder. Many of the above elements will get further discussion as we go along, so don’t worry if a few seem mysterious now.
The Importance of STEM
To carry an idea through to a successful result you need to build the something needed, and that implies that you have the required degree of STEM capabilities. But as mentioned before you don’t have to have all the capabilities that might be needed, the work can be divided between you and your teammates. And that of course is where teamwork comes in.
The Importance of Being Part of a Team
Considering the number of elements that enter into success, it is not hard to see why, in modern times at least, teams play a very important role in the success of innovation. This has probably been true for the last 1000 years. Teams do not have to be very large. Teams of two are very much more successful than one person alone. One person alone, is usually either unsuccessful or extremely slow, but may often overcome that by joining up with an appropriate team at some point.