Want To Innovate? Science Says, Daydream!

Want To Innovate? Science Says, Daydream!

Psychology February 02, 2017 / By Dr. KH Kim
Want To Innovate? Science Says, Daydream!

The greatest innovators in the world often daydream, and this characteristic can be credited with making their innovation possible. To develop the daydreaming attitude, one of the 27 characteristics found in the greatest innovators, research says follow this.

Kim’s (2016) CATs is a research-based framework that explains how creativity develops into innovation. The framework is comprised of three steps that lead to innovation by cultivating creative climates, nurturing creative attitudes, and applying creative thinking skills. Creative climates are the most effective way for you to nurture creative attitudes, which enable your creative thinking skills. You can practice nurturing creative attitudes, which include 27 characteristics that innovators exhibit. One of the most critical creative attitudes is the daydreaming attitude. It is sustaining unrealistic, but goal-oriented thoughts while awake. There are numerous advantages and disadvantages to this attitude. For example, daydreaming impairs your ability to perform complex tasks such as reading or driving. Many dismiss imagination or daydreaming as nonsense, but both are necessary for innovation, and the most imaginative and unique ideas occur while innovators are spontaneous, unfocused, and daydreaming. Although the persistent attitude,  another creative attitude, is necessary in the creative process, if you are too focused, it can act as a blinder that blocks imagination.  Persistently work toward your goal for a long time; then relax or engage in low-demanding tasks and daydream, which facilitates your imagination by letting your subconscious work for the goal; and, finally, achieve the goal, which you must write down to capture before you forget. Innovators constantly seek imaginative and unique ideas and take advantage of their daydreams to achieve their goal, which often leads to the greatest innovations that change the world.

How can you nurture your daydreaming attitude?

First, make it a priority to frequently disconnect from distracting technologies including:

·      The Internet

·      Television

·      Video games

And spend time reading for fun, and picture and imagine what you read.


Second, play can help develop your imagination, therefore:

·      Value play as much as work

·      Play physically, actively, or wildly

·      Freely express yourself when you interact with peers

·      Play games that can have diverse, imaginative answers

·      Fantasize by role playing, daydreaming, or playing open-ended games

·      Play make-believe games

·      Withdraw into a fantasy world by mind-wandering, drawing, or scribbling


Third, playfully write or tell improbable stories, such as:

·      Make a story by imagining walking on the walls or the ceiling

·      Reflect on the improbable such as thinking what-if, how, or why

·      List more than ten answers per each question in a minute to the following phrase: 

What would happen if. . . 

o   it was against the law to sing?

o   it rained or snowed every Saturday?

o   it was the perfect day or journey?

o   you were invisible for a day?

o   you could control the weather by touching your nose or ears, or blinking your eyes?

o   people could fly anywhere?

o   you were an animal?


Fourth, spark your imagination by:

·      Taking a power nap or going to sleep to overcome your creative block to let your subconscious work for you

·      Decorating your surroundings with a variety of  whimsical, unexpected, or fantastical objects

·      Inventing new toys, games, or things that no one can think of

·      Drawing something that has not existed

·      Changing the events of a book or a movie by rewriting it

·      Adding character(s) in books or movies

·      Using creative writing as an escape from the reality


Finally, think futuristically such as:

·      Question what you have read or seen, or things that no one questions

·      Imagine  a mirror, a picture, a TV, or a computer screen as a gateway to the future

·      Write about something in the future, for example, 30 years from now

·      Invent something that doesn’t or can’t exist

·      Ask futuristic questions, or work on future scenarios, and identify an underlying future problem and think of solutions for it


Find more research findings about how to innovate in The Creativity Challenge: How We Can Recapture American Innovation, and follow Dr. KH Kim @Kreativity_Kim!

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