An institution may benefit from creative ferment if it wants to make strides in a new field of endeavor or if it just wants to stay up with changes in its strategic and operational environment.
Science fiction can assist us in finding the spark that ignites the creative process. A brief essay on this topic written by science fiction great Isaac Asimov, who is probably best known for writing the Foundation Trilogy. In an effort to court Allied Research Associates, a Boston company linked with MIT that was looking into ballistic-missile defense possibilities for the American government’s Advanced Research Projects Agency, Asimov authored the article in 1959. He never published the article (and ultimately decided not to participate in the initiative), but MIT Technology Review published it in 2014 when a friend found it in an old, dusty document. It also takes a feeling of adventure to connect occurrences that appear to be unrelated. He notes that “the history of human cognition” shows that even when all the information is available, it can be challenging to come up with an original thought. New ideas can seem irrational, or even outlandish, to most onlookers, so making the link demands a certain amount of bravery.