Somewhere along the line, I came across the idea of creating an imaginary board of directors. I think it was something that Thomas Edison actually did and I think he was eventually a bit worried about hearing people talking in his head. It was also something that Doc did in the movie Back to the Future. But put all of that to one side for a moment.
The basic idea is that you can stimulate your own creativity by first forming an imaginary board of directors and then, when you have a difficult problem to solve, consulting each of them mentally. I am aware that this might sound bit nuts, but bear with me here. The responses you get are simply your own thoughts, but this is a tool for accessing the creativity that is within you. It is an idea that really appeals to me and I am definitely going to try it.
So the first thing to do is select your own board. You can have a lot of fun here deciding who you will appoint. The people can be living or dead; it doesn’t matter. What you need is people who you believe are, or were, in some way outstanding. You want people who will be able to represent different perspectives and you want people you admire.
Personally, I think you probably want to keep the board fairly small and select just one person to represent each perspective you will need to cover. So you don’t want multiple people who all represent creativity, for example. After just a little thought, here is a candidate short-list for my own Imaginary Board of Directors:
- Leonardo da Vinci
- Thomas Edison
- Martin Luther King
- William Shakespeare
- Oscar Wilde
- Nelson Mandela
- Martin Luther King Jr
- Albert Einstein
- Richard Branson
- James Caan
- Walt Disney
- Steve Jobs
- Sir Christopher Wren
- Sir Bobby Charlton
- Pablo Picasso
- M.C Escher
- Edward De Bono
- Salvador Dali
And here are the five positions (perspectives) I have on offer:
- Director of Creativity
- Director of Design
- Director of Business
- Director of Writing
- Director of Moral/Ethics
As you can see, I had to do a bit of mental interviewing to select my final board. With Leonardo, Walt Disney and Albert Einstein all applying for the role of Director of Creativity, it was a tough choice and I may change the personnel from time to time. But here is the final choice for my own board:
- Director of Creativity: Steve Jobs
- Director of Design: Thomas Edison
- Director of Writing: Oscar Wilde
- Director of Moral/Ethics: Nelson Mandela
- Director of Business: James Caan
Now, to make use of this idea, you first get yourself into that quiet meditative state we have spoken about in the past and then, in your imagination, you go into the boardroom. There you meet with your fellow directors and you hold your board meeting in which you raise the issues that are of immediate concern. And each of the directors gets the opportunity to make their point from their own perspective.
So there you have it: a really interesting idea for exploring your own creativity. I wonder if you would like to give it a shot too.