Three Tips To Harness The Power of Imagination in Your Organisation

Recently I had a participant in one of our training courses in tears as she went through an imagination process. The tears came because of a realisation that she had lost the capacity to imagine.

I spend a lot of time thinking about the future, so I’m always surprised at how little people and organisations focus on imagination. I’m also constantly astounded at how powerful people find the process of imagination when they are given the opportunity and the permission to do it.

At Seed we’re all about forming a community of changemakers - individuals and organisations who are being shaped by Jesus while working at the forefront of positive change in our society. One of the pillars of our approach is imagination.

Faith-based organisations are in the change business.  But change is not possible without imagination. When organisations and their stakeholders stop imagining, we lose the sense that change is possible.

There is a widespread misconception that imagination is ‘fluff’ or ‘fanciful’. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Imagination is one of the most concrete things we can do as changemakers.

CS Lewis wrote extensively about the role of the imagination. He spoke of the imagination as casting brightness into the shadowlands of our world. As we are formed to be more like Jesus, we start to ‘see’ reality as God sees it. From this foundation, we imagine alternative possibilities, then we create things that bring our imaginings to life and give those we serve an opportunity to taste and see what Jesus is like.

If the housing model in our nation is broken, the first step to change is imagining a different approach to housing. If people suffering from mental illness are experiencing social isolation, the first step to change is to imagine a setting where they are connected in community. The same applies to any context.

But how do we imagine well in an organisational setting? How do we do collective imagination toward a common purpose?

There is plenty we could say about that, but here are 3 key tips to get you started as you seek to capture the power of imagination in your organisation:

  1. Permission – leaders need to develop a culture that encourages people to not only have ideas, but to share them.

  2. Structured opportunities - in order to develop a culture of imagination, you need to have structures in place to capture people’s imaginings. This means providing space (both mental and physical) where people are given permission to imagine.

  3. Clarity about your context – your staff and stakeholders need parameters that help to harness their imaginings. This can either be a set of boundaries (like an artist’s canvas), or it can be a point of focus toward which people imagine. Either way, these parameters help to gather the creative capabilities within your team and channel them in the same direction.

It’s time to invest in imagination. It’s the first concrete step to creating real change.


John Beckett is the CEO and Founder of Seed. John developed Seed as a vehicle to help give people the agency, support, resources, networks, and confidence to create a new chapter to their stories.

Testimonials

  • I believe Seed will help drive a movement of creativity and innovation in the church. They help people embody their faith in the world in a way that creates real change while being deeply connected to God’s purposes and the biblical story.

    - George Savvides (CEO, Medibank Private)
  • Christians working across industry sectors now have a place where we can come together to understand God’s purposes for our lives and for the world, then get support to turn our understanding into action.

    - Ranjit Voola, Director, Poverty & Profitability Research Group, University of Sydney Business School
  • At the moment there isn’t a space in this country where Christian entrepreneurs and investors can get help to develop their ideas in a way that deeply connects with their faith. I’m excited to be part of helping Seed create such a space.

    - Tim Goh, Impact Investor
  • Seed has helped our church discover new possibilities for engaging with our wider community, and develop a strategy to start moving towards them.

    - Graeme Anderson, Lead Pastor, Northside Baptist Church

Clients + Partners

  • Alphacrucius College - Seed
  • Bible Society Australia - Seed
  • Reventure - Seed
  • TEAR Australia - Seed
  • Compassion - Seed
  • Australian Baptist Ministries - Seed
  • Anglican Deaconess Ministries - Seed
  • Justice Conference - Seed