Framework: Public Imagination

Project

We all possess the power of imagination. What we need is a system that stimulates public imagination, and allows us to externalize new ideas. This will allow us to bridge the gap between the possible and the impossible. New ideas can be generated, minds changed, and common grounds forged. A collective imagination will strengthen democracy.

Social Inventors

  • Andrea Schneider
  • Stephen Duncombe
  • Stuart Candy
  • Gabriella Gomez-Mont
  • Rachel Hatch
  • Clora Romo
  • Jane McGonigal

Values

Externalize our visions of the future in order to build them and to make better decisions together. Imagination is the engine of change and progress.

Cosmology

The first act of history is an act of imagination and creation. If you can imagine it you can make it real. We co-create our reality. Creative constraints are time, biology, the limits of the earth, and private imaginations.

Human Nature

Humans are inherently creative, and every person’s creativity should be valued. Imagination is something everyone can do, not just the educated, the privileged, or those who are of age. Indeed, creativity in culture is often in the possession of people with the least power.

Political Subject

Democracy requires a thriving public imagination. We all imagine as individuals. Our public imagination will bring together different cultures to imagine the future that unites us.

Territory

The space of the imagination has no boundaries. We aim to influence and inspire governments at all scales, from the city to the state to the nation-state to a union to a global governing body.

Metrics

The metrics for success of public imagination must necessarily be both objective and subjective. We will measure ideas generated; ideas translated, shared and exchanged; and ideas enacted. We will also measure our success by minds changed, coalitions formed, common ground forged, and new dreams adopted.

Preamble

We live in a world full of private imaginations — what we don’t have is a collective imagination. Imagination is the engine of change and progress.

If you can imagine it, you can make it real.

We call for the creation of a platform to stimulate and facilitate public imagination about the future — a platform that can inform, influence and inspire governments at all scales, from the city to the state to the nation-state to a union to a global governing body.

We believe that humans are inherently creative, and that every person’s creativity should be valued.

Imagination is something everyone can do. Not just the educated, or the privileged, or those who are of age. Indeed, creativity in culture is often the possession of people with the least power.

The idea of the impossible is where we start.

We will imagine the impossible school. The impossible economy. The impossible family. The impossible treaty. The impossible planet.

Our collective work is to make all of this impossible possible. To make the utopian practical. To build paths forward to reach the hoped-for world that we have together imagined.

The great storyteller Maurice Sendak once said, “In order to work, fantasy must be rooted 10-feet deep in reality.”

The public imagination takes place between the possible and the impossible. The space between is the territory we want our platform to exist within.

We will imagine within creative constraints: time, biology, money, physics. These constraints may change over time, or over history.

We do not imagine for imagination’s sake. We ignite public imagination to galvanize action.
We will imagine worst-case scenario futures, so that we can wrap our collective minds around the gravity of our most urgent challenges.
We will imagine best-case scenario futures, to create shared goals and urgent optimism.

Any democracy requires a thriving public imagination, in order to make visible, sharable, and understandable to all the people new ideas, new models, new potential policies. We cannot make any kind of collective decision unless the collective can understand what is at stake, and envision where it may lead.

The space of the imagination has no boundaries. Our public imagination will bring together different cultures to imagine the future that unites us.

However, we realize that to share our imagination publicly, we must be able to communicate our private deeply the imaginations, and be heard and understood by others. We must strive to understand the private imaginations of others, whose reality is defined by different lived experiences, and assumptions.

We all imagine as individuals. Our project is to create a space for us to now imagine together. Through this shared imagination, we build a truly collective political subjectivity.

The metrics for success of public imagination must necessarily be objective and subjective.

We will measure ideas generated, ideas translated, shared, and exchanged, and ideas enacted.

We will also measure our success by minds changed, coalitions formed, common ground forged, and new dreams adopted.

While we won’t all imagine the same futures, by expressing and recognizing as many imaginations as possible, we can arrive at a more complex, rich and mobilizing vision — that we can imagine and re-imagine, again and again.