In their 2009 book Imagination First: Unlocking the Power of Possibility, Imagination Now contributors Eric Liu and Scott Noppe-Brandon debunked a few myths, took imagination off its lofty pedestal, and made their premise clear: everyone has imagination! It is an essential cognitive skill that this society needs in large supplies if it is to meet the future head-on, and since it is a skill, it must be practiced.
The pragmatic approach, resulting in the description of actual imagination practices that are at the core of the book, paid off: the readers were at the very least intrigued, at best they were inspired to change their work strategies, their academic practices, even their private lives. They came from fields of interest as diverse as those of the imagination practitioners described on the book’s pages: think food retailer, teacher, marine corps officers.
Imagination First has just been reprinted in paperback edition. There was a specific purpose to this second edition: to reflect on what had been learned since the first edition, to “enhance” the book with additional texts and information, and, given its original success, to make sure that it reached the widest audience ever.
Besides an updated introduction by Eric (author and founder of the Guiding Lights Network) and Scott (Executive Director of Lincoln Center Institute), the volume offers an impressively expanded information section on media and articles relevant to the subject, and links to websites of people and organizations referenced within. This list includes such names as Geoffrey Canada, the Buckminster Fuller Institute, Tod Machover, Julie Taymor, Walt Disney Imagineering, Twayla Tharp, and… the Cloud Appreciation Society.
An added bonus are three new “real-life” practices. All three come from educators, and found their way into the book thanks to an “imagination practice” contest run by Lincoln Center Institute. “Send us your practice, win an ipod, and have your practice featured in a book” ran the Institute tag on its Facebook page, and the readers responded. The three winning practices encompass the unlimited possibilities of imagination in education with depth, practicality, and not a little humor. One takes a philosophical stance within the area of arts in higher education, another addresses educational toys for the younger set, and the third is a story of a teacher whose quick thinking saves the day during a power outage in a classroom full of nervous teenagers.
Click here to purchase the Imagination First paperback.
Incidentally, that iPod can still be yours. The imagination practice contest continues. Click here to participate.
- The “ICI Continuum”: Imagination, Creativity, and Innovation (imaginationnow.wordpress.com)