How to maximise your imagination – with Martin Reeves

From The Royal Institution.

How can the worlds of science and tech benefit from imagination? Discover a six-step process to harness your imagination and spark new ideas.

Watch the Q&A here:
Buy Martin’s book ‘The Imagination Machine’ here:

00:00 Intro and demo
10:16 What is imagination?
16:09 Common misconceptions about the imagination
21:21 How to harness the imagination – finding surprise
25:50 Working out the idea
32:16 Colliding your idea with the world
33:46 Fostering collective imagination
37:23 Creating a new norm
40:37 Sustaining imagination
42:35 The power of play
45:51 How will AI affect our imaginations?
51:58 How to enable imagination in organisations

This talk was recorded at the Ri on 8 February 2023, in partnership with for London Institute of Mathematical Sciences.

Find out more at

Our ability to imagine change is our defining human power. Over the past two centuries, there has also been a growing awareness of our ability to direct it. Now, suggests the author of ‘The Imagination Machine’, it is time to combine these two imaginative powers and trigger a step change in human creativity.

Must we wait for imagination to strike, for example, or can we go in search of it? Is imagination essentially solitary, or can it be a collaborative enterprise? Must imagination by definition be a mysterious process or can it be taken apart and examined, piece by piece? Above all, might we, and the companies we work for, find a way to harness it systematically?

At a time when AI is increasingly taking over low-level cognition tasks, these questions are more urgent than ever. Drawing on examples and insights from business, science, the arts and beyond, Martin will introduce you to the extraordinary world of your own imagination and explore its untapped potential.

A very special thank you to our Patreon supporters who help make these videos happen, especially:

modsiw, Anton Ragin, Edward Unthank, Robert L Winer, Andy Carpenter, William Hudson
Don McLaughlin, efkinel lo, Martin Paull, Ben Wynne-Simmons, Ivo Danihelka, Kevin Winoto, Jonathan Killin, Stephan Giersche, William Billy Robillard, Jeffrey Schweitzer, Frances Dunne,, Tim Karr, Alan Latteri, David Crowner, Matt Townsend, THOMAS N TAMADA, Andrew McGhee, Paul Brown, David Schick, Dave Ostler, Osian Gwyn Williams, David Lindo, Roger Baker, Rebecca Pan

The Ri is on Patreon:
and Twitter:
and Facebook:
and TikTok:
Listen to the Ri podcast:
Our editorial policy:
Subscribe for the latest science videos:

Product links on this page may be affiliate links which means it won’t cost you any extra but we may earn a small commission if you decide to purchase through the link.