How to Unlock The Future Through Imagination Activism
Phoebe Tickell, the creator of Imagination Activism and the 8-week training, and Jo Brown, the Director of People and Inclusion at Camden and sponsor for the Camden Imagines project, joined in conversation, chaired by Jon Alexander, author of Citizens.
“What is imagination? Strengthening that muscle of being able to see things other than they are now.” – Adrienne Maree Brown
Imagination is a superpower. Every single change in society started in somebody’s imagination — or in a small group’s collective imagination — from women getting the vote, to the civil rights movement or better services for healthcare. Some say it’s the quality that makes us most uniquely human. But how do you expand the capacity to imagine?
Imagination Activism is an approach and a growing movement that centres around flexing of the muscle of imagination to think differently, shift perspectives and collectively imagine the future. It turns out that imagination is more like a muscle than a talent, and just like any muscle it can be grown. The brain has different neural networks, and one is dedicated to imaginative thinking, and it is this network that gets strengthened when engaging in practice.
During 2022, Camden Council became the first local council to train its officers as Imagination Activists. These council officers, from repairs to green spaces to education and childcare, were equipped with practical tools and practices to take imagination into their work, becoming ambassadors for imagination within the organisation. This unleashed a wave of energy, inspiration and changes across the council, with ripples still being seen today. Phase two of the project will train the leadership, embed imagination into the organisation, and take it out to the residents.
On 20th June, they launched a new report called Imagination Activism in Camden. It documents the work with Camden Council to build imagination activism throughout the organisation, rippling out into the local borough to work with communities. Camden is the first local council to train their staff as Imagination Activists, and put moral imagination at the heart of their leadership model.
Phoebe Tickell is a scientist, systems thinker and social activist born in London. She is the creator of Imagination Activism and the Founder of Moral Imaginations, a not-for-profit organisation working with governments, organisations and leaders to drive imagination-powered change across society.
Joanna Brown is the Director of People and Inclusion at Camden Council, and believes in the power of imagination to help create a better future for all.
Jon Alexander is author of Citizens: Why the Key to Fixing Everything is All of Us – a book that seeks to reframe the moment in time we’re living in as one of huge civic opportunity, not just crisis and collapse.
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