I used to have superpowers.

When I was young, I could fly.

I could teleport myself across space and time.

I could beat up any bad guys that got in my way, no matter how big they were.

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In reality, I really couldn't do these things, but in my imagination everything was possible.

In reality,and sadly, children who hung out in the imagination part of their brain didn't do too well in school.

The alternate universe of imagination was an exciting, creative place to be. But it conflicted with the 'real world'.

"Imagineers" had trouble staying on task.  Trouble staying in their chairs. Trouble doing tasks that didn't engage their imagination.

I was one of them.

But in order to ever hope to get out of school, I had to conform.

It meant doing things their way.

Laying aside the superpowers.  Hanging up the cape.

It meant conforming to whatever everybody else was doing.

Skip ahead a few years.

I'm now an adult (at least based on the date on my driver's license) and working at a great school.  I get to work with a great group of people delivering what we think is an exceptional learning experience for our students.

We have a unique opportunity in front of us.  One of our classroom buildings is due for a major renovation. We are gutting it and can put it back together in almost any way that supports the delivery of an exceptional learning experience.

We have a group of faculty providing input on what the learning spaces might look like.  There is a broad continuum of opinion from constructivist to traditionalist. There is no shortage of opinions.

The problem seems to be that even after including many of the elements of modern teaching (flexible furniture, robust access, lots of whiteboards, interactive and collaborative tools, and great visual and audio support, etc.) the space won't end up looking much different that what we already have and in some senses the spaces may end up looking like an oboe or a platypus (both designed by committee).

There is something missing in the discussion.

Wild imagination.

And more disturbing is that I find that the kid who once had an uncontrollable imagination is now finding it easier to tweak the existing way of doing things, that to really come up with something new.

According to Gartner at their latest SYMPOSIUM/ITxPo, IT needs to be re-imagined. (See my previous post here).

That can be said for education, industry, government, and small business.

We need to re-imagine how we do things.

But if we want to be truly effective, truly brilliant, and truly creative, we have to reach way back and resurrect those latent superpowers within.

We need to be "Imagineers" again.

How about you?  Do you find your creative ideas look a lot like the old ideas?  What do you do to break out of the normal to hit those truly differentiating ideas?

Now where did I put that cape?


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