Earlier this month I quoted John Cleese in his autobiography, So Anyway talking about research which had shown that constant relocation in childhood is often associated with creativity. Cleese writes: “your mind becomes more flexible and capable of combining thoughts and ideas in new and fresh ways”.

In a similar vein, I came across this article written a couple of years ago by Neil Gaiman where he talks about the importance of reading and how imagination encourages innovation.

I was in China in 2007, at the first party-approved science fiction and fantasy convention in Chinese history. And at one point I took a top official aside and asked him Why? SF had been disapproved of for a long time. What had changed?

It’s simple, he told me. The Chinese were brilliant at making things if other people brought them the plans. But they did not innovate and they did not invent. They did not imagine. So they sent a delegation to the US, to Apple, to Microsoft, to Google, and they asked the people there who were inventing the future about themselves. And they found that all of them had read science fiction when they were boys or girls.