Josh Linkner is on a mission. His mission is to make the world more creative.
You can listen to our conversation here.
Josh is the Founder, Chairman and former CEO of the largest interactive promotion agency in the world, ePrize. Josh led the firm from inception to being ranked the #1 fastest growing and #3 overall promotion agency by PROMO Magazine.
Recently, Josh launched the venture capital firm Detroit Venture Partners,actively investing in early-stage techn companies looking to rebuild the Detroit region through entrepreneurship.
He's written a fabulous manual to do just that: Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity.
After Josh described the ROI companies could expect for growing disciplined dreaming within their walls, it made sense to ask how could we scale it? How could we increase disciplined creativity?
It made sense to ask him his thought on how we, as a nation could grow disciplined dreaming.
I asked him:
We've reached the imagination moment in our show. Let's imagine your assistant is waving madly at you right now. They’re mouthing the words:
It’s President Obama!
And they’re pointing at the light blinking on the phone. After that brief panic, they collect themselves and drop the president in your voice mail.
And President Obama says:
Josh. Look. Your point is well-taken. We need more creativity, and a more disciplined approach to developing it, in order to create the jobs to grow our economy.
Would you come up here to the White House. Let's have coffee with the Vice President in the Oval Office. We'd like to hear your thoughts on three ways we can create a more disciplined approach to developing creativity among our citizens?
What would be those three ways?
And, Josh answers for precisely:
Gosh, I would love that opportunity. I hope Obama’s listening. I’d tell him a couple of things.
First thing I’d tell him is Number One we need to prioritize creativity and innovation much more than we do. For some reason in our society we celebrate left-brain and precision thinking much more than we celebrate imagination. Even in our sayings...did you ever hear the saying:
“It’s not rocket-science or you don’t have to be a brain surgeon.”
Those are difficult tasks and require precision and accuracy.
But, you don’t hear people say:
“Gee. It isn’t like writing a symphony.”
And I would argue that in our society we need to celebrate imagination more.
By the way, and I’m not making a political statement, but Obama did say that in his State of the Union Address. He really talked about how innovation is the key to making an economic recovery.
Step Number 2. I think we need to attack the problem head on in our school systems. We’re taught right now to:
* follow the rules
* guess what the teacher knows
* there’s only one right answer
* don’t make mistakes
* teach the test
I think these things are very poisonous. And we’re going to have some long-term, very negative, impact from teaching our kids this type of rigid follow the rules behavior as opposed to nurturing the imagination. I would really encourage him to inject a much more robust creativity approach in the school system.
The third thing I’d recommend is we offer up some tools and demystify the creative process. We realize it isn’t some brilliant guy in a beret who goes off in the distant and comes back with amazing, fully-baked, ideas.
Creativity is a process. Just like weight-lifters can build their muscles, people can build their creative muscles. If we give people that permission to explore, that it’s ok to make mistakes, try new things ad use your imagination then I think we can apply a methodology, then you’re going to see a lot of things happen in our society.
* more entrepreneurs
* more success stories
* more competitive advantage
That’s going to drive a lot of good in our country all around.
Want more from Josh Linkner?
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Some may say this is inappropriate.
This is politics! And you never discuss politics at Thanksgiving Dinners, backyard barbecues and on a business radio show.
As long as only politicians can discuss solutions for our country then those solutions and their interested audiences will remain off-limits, political, for those who make this brand, our country, run. And only politicians, these days that's only career politicians, can discuss those ideas and spoon-feed solutions to the public.
I see our times as an all hands-on-deck opportunity and not a crisis. That opportunity is for each of us to lend our hands, our conversations, our ideas to find and share solutions. In our absence those challenges are left to ideologues, vested interests often hidden and politicians of all stripes and partisan persuasion.
We...are the only ones with valid vested interests. And now we have, with social media and the urgency of today, the opportunity to reclaim our place at this table and discuss our ideas to solve our challenges. At the very least, we can listen to a discussion until we are ready to speak up.