On Imagination, Creativity and Innovation

The triad of imagination, creativity, and innovation is as much interesting topic to study as much as it is hard to approach imaginative creativity. Do these follow each other in a ladder-type consequence? Or, they co-exist in a tetrahedral structure? Do they follow each other in waves because things tend to move in waves? Or, is it better to draw them in a Venn diagram? Or, even better to imagine a new way on how they interact? Do they feedback to each other? So many questions cloud my mind.

or, fractals such as:

These aren’t preliminary questions. Logic and scientific thinking may operate against imagination. For every action, there is an equal opposite action. This linear thinking doesn’t go along with the butterfly effect in which small actions might generate actions well beyond logical thinking. And yet some people still think linearly.

Watching birds flying tells us in V-formations that birds save this way about 78% of their flying energy had they been flying singularly. These numbers defy logic and we need to imagine more to create more.

Imagination comes to relaxed minds while asleep, having a shower, walking in a forest, or watching birds fly.

The Fibonacci distribution of tree leaves inspires the idea of distributing solar collectors similarly. Tree leaves are in essence solar energy collectors. The branching of tree leaves and the branching of veins in our bodies are similar as they both follow the Fibonacci distribution. They seem worlds apart because we aren’t relaxed enough to imagine. The tree leaves move like springs and produce musical sounds. It is a great lesson on how we may synchronize our works so that they may also be musical.

Humans were not born to extrapolate the past to the future. Our world isn’t linear. We may have our own butterfly effects by making small changes that create huge possibilities. We need to expand on our imagination as a feed for our creativity so as to arrive at innovative products. What seems a stupid idea that defies logical thinking may in fact be a great one, but our lack of imagination kills it. The examples are many. Some trees vibrate to clean off dust. This opens the idea of vibrating cables to clear them off snow. Using a helicopter may force the cables to vibrate and drop off snow. Putting two lenses adjacent to each other is a normal thing in eye-glasses. Who would dare but a child to put one on top of the other? It is a silly idea, isn’t it? But that is how a microscope works.

We might be too logical to imagine. We need therefore to spend more time with children. If we need to fly to new horizons then we need strong wings of imagination.

I feel children fly with their imagination because they are like birds and the flapping of the wings of their imagination makes it easier for them to fly higher. It is us who bring them back to the ground.

As we know more, we discover how lesser we know. Knowledge isn’t enough. It is imagination that makes us see dreamy ideas only for us to mock them instead of combining them with creative ideas.

I thank you Sara Jacobovici for it is your comment on my previous post that prompted me to write this post. Your inspiration goes beyond imagination.


Ali Anani
Ali Anani
My name is Ali Anani. I hold a Ph.D. from the University of East Anglia (UK, 1972) Since the early nineties I switched my interests to publish posts and presentations and e-books on different social media platforms.

DO YOU HAVE THE "WRITE" STUFF? If you’re ready to share your wisdom of experience, we’re ready to share it with our massive global audience – by giving you the opportunity to become a published Contributor on our award-winning Site with (your own byline). And who knows? – it may be your first step in discovering your “hidden Hemmingway”. LEARN MORE HERE


  1. In the past, imagination has been considered a false, almost mythical, and relegated function to poets. But today we know that it is the most powerful faculty of the human mind and that it plays a fundamental role in our life, being the reality of everything that exists. We live in a world of imagination and there is nothing that has not been imagined before.
    An economic era is passing, another is emerging and, as has always happened historically, these changes bring with them some turbulence, but also valuable opportunities for growth. In every phase of change, human activities have evolved accordingly. Today we are facing a new change, which will lead to a new shift in human activities. The work will evolve again, requiring more social / emotional skills and more advanced cognitive abilities like the imagination!
    We are in the midst of a real revolution. There is no instruction booklet, and what is needed most is a dynamic and creative mind. Nowadays, creativity is in fact considered the most important quality of leadership, followed by integrity and global thinking. employers will look for creative people, who know how to use their imagination to create greater benefit to others and to themselves.
    To evolve we need to give space to creativity with regards to business (awakening) and school education (not suffocating it). No longer, therefore, simply replicating, reacting, recreating but acting in a conscious and deliberate way, and creating through the strategic use of the imagination.
    Creativity and imagination are basic, vital qualities.
    I therefore believe that we must not let ourselves be harnessed by the past, but welcome the future. Don’t fossilize on the old, but discover the new and help those around us do the same. This too is an exercise in the imagination.

    • Dear Aldo, I apologize for you and all commentators for missing these great comments for a while.

      “I therefore believe that we must not let ourselves be harnessed by the past, but welcome the future”. Those who keep thinking of the past shall not have time to think of the future. I agree with you. Yes, we need to learn from the past, but also we need to advance to the future.

      As you perfectly highlighted, change is accelerating and we need to be agile and adaptive. We can’t control change, but we may strengthen our muscles- including brain muscles- on how to adapt and not be fragile.

  2. Dear Ali Anani, I have been reading your works for about 4 years now and every time I read something I learn something new.

    Expanding our imagination as a feed for our creativity has become very challenging in the current scenario. While imagination stands the test of time, creativity hides behind the clutter we are fed with, and thereby faults innovation or innovation does not happen at all.

    Your article clear a path to look at the triad of imagination, creativity, and innovation. As I read more, I realize, I know less. Thank you for sharing your wonderful thoughts on the traid.

    • Dear Fatima,

      I have learned from you a lot my friend over the last four years.

      Thank you for highlighting the value of the triad of imagination- creativity- innovation. We must realize the value of creative imagination.

  3. Ali, I love how you weave science and nature into the more ethereal worlds of creativity and imagination. I loved the visuals you created at the top as an exploration of the interplay between creativity, imagination and innovation (I’m all waves!). I look forward to reading more of your work, friend!