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1-Page Summary of Disciplined Dreaming
The Importance of Creativity
Many people believe that only leaders need creativity, or that some jobs don’t require it. Others think you can get by with knowledge and technical skills alone. Some people believe creativity is innate, and that organizations can’t manage it. All of these ideas are wrong; every job needs to be creative, everyone can learn to become more creative, all companies must use creativity to stay competitive, and your company must manage creativity.
The business world is changing rapidly, and leaders are having to be more creative. So many of them need help with that. We can follow a five-step process called “Disciplined Dreaming” in order to become more creative.
- Ask, prepare, discover, ignite and launch. You will have to work on creativity every day if you want to be more creative. After some time passes by you’ll become better at it. Your responses will be more creative in all areas of life and business from daily issues to game-changing innovations. You’ll make less mistakes because you know the process of being creative and when others should get involved with your ideas.
The creative process is always messy. It doesn’t follow a linear path; it’s often necessary to get lost and double back in order to produce good results. The Disciplined Dreaming framework will help you stay on the right track even when you lose your way, so that you can still succeed at creating something worthwhile.
Step 1: Ask
To solve a problem, you must first define it. For example, when your goal is to lose weight and you want to be healthier overall, the problems are how much weight do I need to lose? What will my health look like once I reach that goal? Next, create a brief statement of what you’re trying to accomplish with this project or idea. You can also ask yourself questions such as: Why do I need this project/idea? How will it improve my life and those around me?
Analyze the situation. What have you or others tried in the past to solve this problem? Did any of those approaches work? If not, why did they fail? What are you doing about the problem right now? What would you like the future to look like if money and time weren’t limitations. Identify who will oppose your solution, why they’ll do so and what obstacles stand in your way. As you work on a solution, who is your competition and how can it affect business decisions that need to be made now or later?
It is not enough to have a solution. You need to convince your colleagues of the value of that solution. Determine who you’re trying to reach and how you’ll get your idea across. Develop a plan for the project, breaking it into smaller steps with deliverables and time lines. Identify what resources are necessary and stay within budget limits. Define key metrics, including expected benefit or return on investment (ROI).
Ask three questions: why, what if and why not. Repeat these questions to yourself as many times as possible. It helps you see the world differently by thinking outside the box. The why question helps you understand how things came to be in their current state of existence. When asking what if, you can imagine alternatives that may exist or could have existed had certain events taken place differently; this allows for new possibilities and ideas to surface. Finally, when asking “why not,” we are able to explore all of the reasons there might be against doing something and it lets us know what obstacles we will need to overcome in order for our idea or plan to succeed.
Shift your perspective. Be a camera and look at the problem from different angles, zoom in on an individual to see how it affects them, then pull back to see the bigger picture of a city or country affected by this issue. Step outside your own view and consider the problem as someone who doesn’t know anything about it would. Look at how organizations work: Why do you do things that way? Take out an imaginary periscope (like something used in submarines) to see ideas that are hidden around corners or on other levels. Remember that “creativity is a learned skill” so practice foundational skills like associating things in new ways, questioning why something works a certain way, observing what’s going on around you and experimenting with new ideas even if they don’t end up working out right away because you’ll learn more from failing than succeeding every time.