Most of the technological advances humans have made throughout history would not have been possible without strong imagination.
The internal combustion engine, powered flight, space exploration, alternative fuel sources, artificial intelligence, and countless other inventions all owe their successes to individuals who were not afraid to think outside the box and challenge the norm in favor of something that truly changed the course of human events.
Imagination certainly hasn’t disappeared – one quick look around Kickstarter will show you that the age of creative thinking is still alive and well.
But exciting, imaginative ideas need money to get off the ground, and many potential suitors avoid risks in favor of investing in safe options.
What we really need are more brave individuals who push the boundaries, like Richard Branson and Elon Musk.
Branson and Musk are widely known as the entrepreneurs behind Virgin Galactic and Tesla Motors, respectively. Both of these companies have harnessed the imaginations of consumers in order to create a significant change in their industries.
Now Musk has unveiled a new game-changing travel technology called the Hyperloop, which utilizes pneumatic transport tubes. Similar to the tubes used in banks, the technology will propel travelers in solar-powered magnetic levitation capsules through an enclosed vacuum at speeds reaching upwards of 4,000 mph. At this speed, riders could travel from New York to California in 45 minutes.
But why is Musk putting so much effort behind this tech? You could argue that this type of change in travel could revolutionize the industry, and open the doors to many new domestic jobs and economic opportunities. But the Hyperloop has something bigger going on – it’s captured the imagination of many people who have long been taught to quit their daydreaming and be realistic.
At some point in people’s lives, their ability to imagine endless opportunities gets squashed as the realities of life set upon them. From jobs and families, to the economy and cynics, there are a lot of reasons daydreamers have to put their dreams on a shelf in favor of something that they can count on to return on their investment.
The problem with this is that it erodes our ability to develop truly remarkable advances in all facets of our lives. The Wright Brothers, Henry Ford, Steve Jobs, Howard Hughes, Walt Disney and countless others pushed the boundaries of their imaginations and ended up reshaping their respective fields.
So, what’s the takeaway?
Marketers need to know that in many cases teasing consumers’ imaginations and moving beyond the status quo makes efforts worth the risk. While Hyperloop might not see the light of day in our lifetimes, it could create such a stir that a scaled-back version could be implemented in the next decade. At the very least, it could change the way the transportation industry works.
The same could be said for advancements in the environmentally friendly field. While there may not be enough investors out there who see value in becoming part of the pantheon of great entrepreneurs, there is obviously a need to imagine what could be possible.
Until this changes, new environmentally friendly technology will continue to grow at a pace far slower than what we imagine is possible.