In the summer of 1997 Richard Tavener launched a radio and internet webcast program called “Living The
American Dream.” Tavener conducted interviews with successful entrepreneurs from around the country.
The show sought to uncover what motivates people to start their own business, what was the inspiration,
and where did their ideas come from?
Richard interviewed thousands of people over the years-from Jerry Yang, co-founder of Yahoo! to Francis
Ford Coppola, the famous filmmaker; from the pizza shop owner on the corner to the auto parts supplier
across town. Tavener talked with, and learned from, hundreds people who all had one thing in common:
they had an idea for a business AND they took the risk to start it. But, for every one of them who acted on
their imagination and ideas, there were far more who did not. Tavener asked, “Why did people who had
good ideas not act upon them?
By 1999 Tavener decided to take his show to the streets. His idea was a 100-day tour of the country to
record a snapshot of “imagination in action” in America as one century came to a close and another was
about to begin. The “Tour of America” traveled over 150,000 miles, visited nearly every State, recorded
interviews with over 2,500 people, creating a "thought leader" media library with over 4,000 hours of
content. What Tavener uncovered is that there is a massive amount of creative potential in America, but, at
the same time, there is a hesitation for “being creative.” It seems people are afraid to be creative, much less
act upon their creativity. He wanted to know why?
By 2007 Richard Tavener had been working with Stanford University on a creativity challenge. The
question we asked, "What if you gave thousands of students a common household object and challenged
them to be creative?"
We invited hundreds of universities and thousands of students from around the world to participate in the
global creativity challenge. The challenge? Add value to a pack of Post-it Notes...in just six days!
Richard Tavener teamed up with filmmaker Rudy Poe to film the challenge and to create “imagine it! Post it
Notes.” The students surprised everyone by what the created. Their imaginations ran wild. What the film
“ImagineIt! Post it Notes” revealed is that people are waiting for permission to be creative. Once they are
given permission to be creative there is no limit to their potential.
As a follow-up to “Post it Notes,” Tavener and Poe made a second film, this time to learn from experts
about imagination and creativity. The result was “ImagineIt! 2 The Power of Imagination.” In this film,
interviews with dozens of “thought leaders” on the subject of imagination and creativity confirmed the
power of imagination and the importance of creative thinking. However, America’s educational system does
not encourage imagination or creative thinking. In fact, the system was designed to do just the opposite.
Through synchronicity, Tavener met Dr. George Land during a screening of “The Power of Imagination”
film. Years ago Dr. Land conducted a landmark study on the subject of creativity. The question Dr. Land
asked, “Is creativity inherited or learned? What Land discovered is that creativity is neither inherited nor
learned. Land’s conclusion: Creativity is unlearned. People are indeed creative but over time their
creativity is closeted.
In 2009, Dr. Jay Kayne, teaching "Imagination and Entrepreneurship" at Miami University (Oxford, OH),
connects with Tavener and Poe and The ImagineIt! Project is born.
To help others understand the phenomenon we observed, we coined the term adultification:
ADULTIFICATION (un-dulh-ti-fi-ka-shuhn) noun, the process of benumbing or parallizing one’s ability to
imagine, to create, to invent.
For young people ADULTIFICATION is preventable…it doesn't have to happen to you.
For adults ADULTIFICATION can be cured thorugh a rehabilitative process in which you are given the
opportunity to rediscover your inner child!
The re-launch of ImagineIt! on May 1, 2012 is the second phase of our journey. The first leg focused on
sharing what we had learned through media. It inspired many individuals and organizations to re-think
how they perceived their own creative potential. Once inspired, these audiences wanted more. To use a
medical analogy, phase one involved observing the symptom and better understanding the disease. Phase
two is about treatment encompassed in our personal and professional development offering for education
and corporate audiences.
We hope you share our excitement and commitment to helping everyone unleash and exploit their creative
potential and will become part of the ImagineIt! movement.
Tap into your creative inner-child and see the difference at work, in school or in your life!