Author: Wale Akinyemi
 Creative Insurgency

Creative Insurgency

Imagination is the ability to see things that do not exist and to hear words that have never been said. It is the ability to create possibility where there was none. It is the fundamental driving force behind innovation. Every Innovative idea is the product of an active imagination. It therefore follows that if we want to see more innovation we need to consciously identify ways of stirring the imagination of people.

Companies are spending tones of money on Research and Development and this is good. They are however finding out that the most innovative ideas that are changing and redefining the way we live and play and do business were not the products of multimillion dollar Research and Development programs. They were the products of imagination mostly from restless young people.

Imagination is a gift that has been given to all people to paint their future in their minds. It is the tool by which great Kingdoms have been built. It is the tool by which great voyages were embarked upon. It is the tool by which great inventions are made. It is the tool by which great songs are written. It is the tool by which great battles are won.

One would think that for a tool that has such vast uses, the study of imagination will be a primary area of study. Civilizations begin to decay when the forces of the present overshadow the forces of painting the future. Another word for describing the forces that paint the future is imagination. Lack of imagination causes stagnation and then regression. There can be no sustainable advancement without an imagination that will first paint it.

To advance in this age that we live, we must have the spirit of insurgency. An insurgency is an armed rebellion against a constituted authority. It is the revolt against tradition and norm. One of the very interesting patterns in life is how insurgents become incumbents.  In the corporate world, the same pattern repeats itself. Think Apple. Think Microsoft. Think Google. These were the corporate insurgents. They defied the establishment and came out with breakthrough concepts that the establishment had no clue about. They were the ultimate Corporate rebels. Think of Sir Richard Branson. (A few years ago no one would have imagined him being called ‘Sir’). They were the very antithesis of the corporate world in every sense. The corporate suits that marked the era before them were replaced by jeans and khakis and open necked T Shirts. The ostrich skin Shoes were replaced by sneakers and loafers. It was totally not what a corporate establishment ought to look like but it was happening and it was happening fast and worst still, no one could do anything but watch helplessly or join forces! Today, the story is different. They are among the most respected companies in the world and are benchmarked by many all over the world today. What has happened? The insurgents have become the incumbents.

Life is in seasons. Each season of your life wants to hold you down. For you to move to the next season of your life, you may have to rebel against past seasons as an insurgent. For instance, you cannot move into the season of marriage with the mindset of a bachelor. Neither can you move into the season of fatherhood without rebelling against the wildness of the seasons of your life when there was no responsibility.  Each season does not want you to leave it for another season and you will discover that when people fail to rebel against a past season they look out of place. The season you do not rebel against will dominate your life. Unfortunately, many people find it difficult to rebel because their imagination is impotent. You will never rebel against a season (Especially if it was a good season) if you have not seen a better season ahead and this can only be seen through the lens of imagination.

Insurgents are imaginative. They can see a future that doesn’t exist and they are ready to risk all to go for it. This very attribute is what the incumbents used to have but now that they achieved what they imagined they are now using their brains for the second cerebral function which is memory. They keep repeating the stories of how they did it. They tell everyone who cares to listen about how they built a great company from scratch.

When your memory is more active than your imagination, you are on your way out. The mind is truly a terrible thing to waste.

There lies a greater tomorrow for the imaginative. Leadership is the ability to put words and actions to the thoughts of others. True leaders are imaginative. They are visionaries. They see what is not yet and hear what is not yet. There is a thin line between genius and insanity but truth be told, it is better to be adjudged insane by people who are prisoners of seasons than for them to think you are one of them.

The choice is yours. You can be a prisoner of your last season as an individual or as a company or you can be a voyager to your next season. Imagination is what will cause you to lose sight of the shore and only then can you discover new lands.

The best way to predict the future is to create it. This process of creating the future you want starts in your mind. Consciously engage it in imagination. The great part of this is that as you imagine it and dwell on it, somehow, the lines begin to fall for you in pleasant places. You will know what to do next and then you will begin to experience a series of fortunate accidents known as serendipity.  Because you have given your imagination the liberty to soar you will be equipped to take advantage of these fortunate accidents.

Chance still favors the prepared mind. There is nothing as sad as an opportunity presenting itself and the structures you have built prevent you from taking advantage of it.

The future is free. It is here. It is open for whosever. You don’t have to be the relic of yester years. You can be the inspiration of years to come. A little imagination, insurgency against your last season, a little rebellion against status quo and a little eccentricity and you will be on your way to becoming the next big thing.

Do have a great weekend.   twitter@waleakinyemi

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