This Blue Morpho didius butterfly image is used with permission from butterflyutopia.com.
The term “Imaginal” has connotations of imagination, the process of creating new ideas and concepts of things that do not yet exist.
In biology, the term is applied to Imaginal cells – and the startling science behind Imaginal cells is where we get our inspiration for the work we do here at DGT.
We all grew up knowing a bit about the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly. The truly amazing part of this process, however, is in the scientific detail of how it actually happens in nature.
After a period of ravenous consumption, a caterpillar finds an appropriate perch and forms a chrysalis – so far so good. The end result, we know, is a butterfly, but the truly astonishing thing is that there is no structural similarity at all between a caterpillar and a butterfly.
Inside the chrysalis the caterpillar, unable to move, actually dissolves into an organic globule. Cells, which had been dormant in the caterpillar and which biologists have the poetic genius to call “Imaginal cells,” begin a process of creating a new form and structure.
At first these Imaginal cells – the seeds of future potential, which contain the blueprint of a flying creature—operate independently as single-cell organisms. They are regarded as threats and are attacked by the caterpillar’s immune system. But they persist, multiply, and connect with each other. The Imaginal cells form clusters and clumps, begin resonating at the same frequency and passing information back and forth until they form a tipping point. They begin acting not as discrete individual cells but as a multi-cell organism – and a butterfly is born.
Courageous Leaders are the Imaginal cells within their organizations, finding new and more effective ways to imagine a better future at work. How do you see your role as an Imaginal Leader?
Next month we will explore this transformation topic within the context of the 4th IR and the importance of pacing yourself through the multiple challenges of our times.
As always it starts with you.