From the CEO: The power of imaginative thinking

AME | September 8, 2023

AME’s AME Cleveland 2023 Conference is less than two months away. With the date fast approaching, I find it difficult to contain my excitement. In one unforgettable week, we will explore world-class keynote speakers, sessions, workshops, tours and networking opportunities.

This year’s theme is “Reimagining Excellence.” Given that we strive for excellence every day, I am positive there will be no shortage of engaging conversations around this topic. However, it occurred to me – to truly get the most out of our time in Cleveland, it’s equally as important to focus on the power of imagination.

As children, our imaginations were boundless. We created entire worlds with very few materials at our disposal (how many of you converted a discarded cardboard box into a ship or racecar?). As we age, it becomes harder to maintain this scope of unbridled creativity. However, lean experts remain unique because we never lose our creativity. We wouldn’t be able to stay at the forefront of the industry, constantly developing ways to improve it, if we didn’t possess visionary, innovative and imaginative ways of thinking.

Heading into conference week, I encourage everyone to engage with each other and dialogue imaginatively. What might this look like?

  • Ask questions you have never thought to ask before. If you’re worried an inquiry might present as too “outside the box,” let that be the driving force to ask it. It could open an entirely new, fresh line of conversation. From there, new modes of problem-solving can emerge.
  • Attend a workshop, seminar, session or tour posted on the AME website page Upcoming Events about a topic you know little about. The more information we synthesize, the greater our creative thinking grows.
  • Use the AME conference as an opportunity to nurture your knowledge base. Think of yourself as someone showing up to learn first and educate second.
  • Stay curious. When we ask “why,” we encourage ourselves to view a problem from different angles and expand our capacity for developing creative solutions. Remaining curious enables our workplace operations to become enterprising instead of stagnant.
  • Remain enthusiastic. Lean is only on the cusp of becoming a subject commonly known outside the industry. The last few years highlighted how valuable adaptability is to the smooth operation of our everyday lives. If we continue to share our knowledge and grow our industry with passion, others will want to engage enthusiastically.

Of course, these are just a few suggestions. The kaleidoscopic quality of imagination is that it has no limits other than the ones we set ourselves. I look forward to seeing everyone in Cleveland in November, where we will not only refocus the lens on excellence but collaborate on innovative modes of thought leadership.

As always, please stay safe and keep looking out for one another.