Don't wake up the dreamers – the creative industry depends upon them

By Nadya Powell | managing director

The Drum


Opinion article

May 26, 2015 | 4 min read

Hey dreamer wake up! Yes you. Snap out of it and listen.

Have these words transported you straight back to school? You’re 13 and happily staring out the window, or doodling on your (non-i) pad when suddenly Miss, Mrs or Mr Choakum demands a rough return to reality. Because if you’re not paying attention, you’re not learning, right? Wrong.

To be fair back in 1987 Mr Choakum probably wasn’t aware of the latest findings in neuroplasticity and so let’s not hold too much of a grudge. Skip along to 2015 and there is a body of evidence that suggests the dream state, both asleep or lucid, is critical to the creative process. Dreaming enables us to go beyond what is known to make new connections, leaps and drive competitive advantage.

Nadya Powell

Hang on a minute – just going to take a quick break to doodle on my iPad.

Back in the room - so what’s the science? When in a dream state we are using the intrinsic pattern system (as opposed to the extrinsic one – keep up!) which, according to Steven Kotler in Psychology Today means:

“… far flung corners of the brain are chit-chatting. Creativity… depends on those broader implicit networks putting together information in new ways.”

To put it another way – do your best ideas often come to you in the bath, on a walk, staring out the window? This is because the brain is relaxed enough to let unconnected neurons bump and new connections form.

So let’s re-write history and stop trying to wake the dreamers up but leave their neurons to collide. Without dreamers, creative effort would be devastated and we don’t want that as, to quote the incisive Dave Trott:

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“Creativity may well be the last legal unfair competitive advantage we can take to run over the competition.”

Which is why it is a thing of joy that The Drum have launched the Dream Awards. The sole purpose of the Dream Awards is to celebrate The Dreamers and recognise the creative work they dreamed up. And to hammer home the importance of dreaming The Drum have teamed up with some of the leading creative directors across London and recreated their most iconic creative work as dreams recounted on the psychologist’s couch.

Watch the films, let your neurons bump and then write possibly the best award entry of your life. We want to celebrate the dreamers and that means you. Dreamers Wanted.

Nadya Powell is the managing director of Lost Boys

Visit The Drum's Dream Awards website to find out more.


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