When seeking creative ideas, our built-in biases can prevent us from seeing new possibilities. We only develop opportunities related to the status quo, that which is somewhat familiar.
Science fiction can help remove the creative boundaries by providing the inspiration for innovation. It helps us engage in mental time travel and allows us to dream about what may be possible. Consider some life-changing breakthroughs science fiction has envisioned or inspired: cell phones (based on Star Trek communicators), credit cards (a feature of a futuristic society in a 19th century novel by Edward Bellamy), self driving cars (foreseen by Isaac Asimov), robots (conceived by Karel Capek), ear buds (a fictional invention by Ray Bradbury), and atomic power (imagined by H. G. Wells).
Lowes visualized a new retail future with augmented reality and robotics by giving customer and technology data to a panel of science fiction writers and asked them to imagine what Lowes might look like in five or ten years.
As a result of the project, Lowes became the first retailer to deploy fully autonomous robots for customer service and inventory, create some of the first 3D printing services, and helped place a 3D printer on the International Space Station. It also created exosuits (external robotic skeletons) for employees unloading trucks and came up with the first augmented reality phone for planning remodeling work.
Do you think there are few ways to sell science fiction in places other than bookstores? Use the imagination that created your story to help you sell it.
Brian Jud is the Executive Director of the Association of Publishers for Special Sales (APSS – www.bookapss.org), and the administrator of Book Selling University (www.booksellinguniversity.com) Contact Brian at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.premiumbookcompany.com
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