While Lonny Kocina's body jogs around a track, his mind runs free. The 43-year-old founder and president of public relations firm Media Relations Inc. couples his daily workout with an exercise in daydreaming that helps him solve problems, identify opportunities and boost his creativity.
Dictating daydreams into a tape recorder as he jogs, Kocina returns with ideas for projects that have ranged from an alliance with an ad agency to bedtime stories about a fictional Camp Wacki Kooki for his children. These dreams aren't ephemeral, Kocina stresses. The ad agency alliance is generating referrals, and a series of recorded tales about Camp Wacki Kooki is now sold in retail stores nationwide.
Corporations such as AT&T and advertising firm J. Walter Thompson also use daydreaming and the related technique of guided imagery to create new products, research consumer attitudes and suggest answers to knotty problems. It's not as crazy as it sounds, says Harry Barrett, a consultant with Synectics Inc., a Cambridge, Massachusetts, management consulting firm that specializes in innovations and creativity. "Guided imagery or daydreaming is simply giving permission to the mind to wander and come up with some new connections," Barrett says.
Fans say daydreaming is simple, inexpensive, powerful and flexible enough to use for a broad spectrum of business challenges. Kocina has grown his company to 50 employees, making it one of the largest media relations firms in Minneapolis. According to him, "It was the result of doing all this daydreaming."
Mark Henricks is an Austin, Texas, writer who specializes in business topics and has written for Entrepreneur for nine years.