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Why reading sci-fi can help leaders innovate

Noriaki Noto
Noriaki NotoMarketing Director Japan
Experienced Marketing Director with a demonstrated history of working in the IT industry. I’m a strong marketing professional skilled in Advertising, Enterprise Software, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Go-to-market Strategy, and Strategic Partnerships. Currently I’m head of marketing for Lenovo Japan.

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Tech giants the world over are opening their doors to a new breed of consultant. Companies are increasingly hiring science fiction writers to help them expand their minds to greater possibilities.

Rather than obsessing over industry white papers, the world’s leading companies are flipping through the sci-fi section to stay on top of their game–and not because they’re trying to predict the future.

The real value of sci-fi lies in its ability to reframe our perspectives on the world. Though history is a necessary reminder to avoid repeating past catastrophes, a look into the crystal ball of sci-fi shows us just how malleable the future is. Presented with alternate realities, readers are empowered to confront the status quo and question not just what they think, but also how and why they think it.

Just like meditation or experiencing a new culture, sci-fi creates space for us to question our assumptions. But why would I want to question my assumptions? Because assumptions, while useful for providing cognitive shortcuts to make sense of the world, fail to update when the world changes–and stand in our way when we might otherwise change the world.

Sci-fi has already spawned real-life breakthroughs by helping leaders ask new questions and free their minds from false constraints, as in Sergey Brin mining Snow Crash for insights into VR.

True leaders recognise that sometimes, imagination trumps analysis. Take a tip from the world’s most ambitious people and challenge your assumptions and fears with a sci-fi read this summer.

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