How Do You Rank Imagination?

How Do You Rank Imagination?

A proposed hierarchy of imagination affords it preeminence in the creative process.

Stephen Fortune
  • 31 march 2011

Capturing the necessary ingredients for creativity is difficult, perhaps because as a quality it is elusive and unquantifiable by nature. That hasn’t stopped others from attempting models and frameworks to encourage creativity, which often exhibit great depths of creativity in and of themselves.

Michael Wolff recently outlined 3 muscles of creativity and he numbered imagination among them, so we were intrigued to read of a ‘Hierarchy of Imagination’ as proposed by John Maeda and Patti Brennan, a four tier structure inspired by Abraham Maslow’s seminal Hierarchy of Needs. Brennan shares Wolff’s regard for imagination:

Brennan had a clear mental model of why “teaching creativity doesn’t work but expanding their imaginations might work better” in the context of some of her work in patient healthcare. Her basic thought was that in order to get patients to take control of their health, they need to imagine what it looks like to be more healthy.

From this the hierarchy was developed: it proceeds from the base level of human reflex to the apex of imagination, which Patti insisted is “boundless creativity.”

Creative Leadership

[via Imaginary Foundation]


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+john maeda

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