What Color Is Your Imagination? was inspired by a conversation with Nadine Owens Burton's then preschool aged son during a car ride home. That four-year-old's question and subsequent declaration about the color of his imagination developed into a lesson on problem-solving for her staff while as a Head Start Director. It has since provided information and inspiration for various other teams. For the past decade plus, Ms. Owens Burton has presented workshops and keynotes based on the theme through her company, Owens Burton Consulting. She is now putting those lessons into a book.
What Color Is Your Imagination? includes a metaphor where the types of problem-solving behaviors and environments are represented by an assortment of colors. For example, Yellow Imagination is the "we've always done it that way" type of imagination, or the imagination of fear. Green Imagination sees creativity as a commodity to be traded and, therefore, is highly impacted by personal motivations and incentives. White Imagination is the implementation of the creativity of others and is therefore not as "vivid" and "vibrant," is less impactful than original ideas. Black Imagination is what we would call the "mad genius" type of imagination. Those exhibiting this type of imagination are the ones about whom we usually wish, "If they would only use their powers for good." That ideal is Purple Imagination. It is the combination of Red Imagination and Blue Imagination. If we take Red Imagination (love, passion, and enthusiasm) and combined it with Blue Imagination (analytics, statistics, and empiricism) we get Purple Imagination: a synergistic, almost exponentially beneficial relationship where innovation and invention occur.
The second half of the book gives the reader ten ways to increase their chances of creating their own Purple Imagination.