IMAGINABLE: How to See the Future Coming and Feel Ready for Anything

Jane McGonigal Imaginable at Shiftschool

by Jane McGonigal

When I first stumbled across a book by Jane, I was writing my thesis. I wanted to understand how gamification worked in app development. Now, almost everything is gamified. And game researcher Jane McGonigal has become a futurologist. In her new book, she now gets to the bottom of the question of why it can be useful to become an oracle. The question why we must imagine the impossible in order to better cope with the present. It’s a question that seems tailor-made for our SHAPE® program. We all know what VUCA feels like now. But how to make good decisions and remain capable of action under VUCA is something we don’t yet know.

One way is to vividly imagine certain scenarios, that is, to have been there before and to have mentally lived through them. So that our brain can adjust to them. And we are prepared when the future really comes and throws a stick between our legs.

Imaginable also describes new neuroscientific findings, some of which are certainly more convincing than others. However, we at SHIFTSCHOOL have often seen that this approach really works. Even though we can often only simulate things in the workshop, we still make experiences that our brain can then remember later and we can adjust better to new and unknown things.

Experience to Imagine

Many of our participants suddenly noticed after the program that they were better able to deal with uncertainty and crises. Even if they had never thought this possible before and had certainly cursed our experience-based methodology a time or two beforehand. Often you don’t learn in the moment, but only in retrospect, and then you suddenly feel quite comfortable despite uncertainty.

If you will, Imaginable is a kind of self-help book about becoming more open to an ever-changing world. If our minds travel into the future for a while, we’re apparently better prepared when that future arrives. This applies to both utopias and dystopias, by the way. And probably Jane wants to give us a little encouragement at the end when she writes: “If you’re not the heroine of your own future, then you’re imagining the wrong future.”

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