Reimagining imagination as a winning trait of leading businesses

Mark Kennedy and Colin Macarthur – Kantar Australia

Imagination is humanity’s fundamental superpower. Imagination has fuelled the creation of great art, empires, fortunes and communities. Everything from vacuum cleaners to vaccines have started with a spark of human imagination.

A great irony of our modern times is that imagination is most important during dynamic, changing, and uncertain times but this is the very time that imagination feels the riskiest, most challenging and out of reach. Similarly in today’s world, imagination is more aspirational, valued and rewarded in culture than ever before but imagination is at its most absent in large scale business culture than it has ever been.

In times of change and uncertainty, confidence can be found in the security of past experiences or the optimism of future potential. And for business today the key question is which path to choose?

At every point of great uncertainty and fear throughout history, societies and businesses have found a way through reinvention powered by the imaginations of the bold and visionary. And today, imagination has arguably never been at a greater premium. For our recent Insights 2030 study, we spoke with over 100 C-Suite leaders from global businesses and benchmarked our findings with a further 1,700 global business leaders. The overwhelming insight? That imagination is the behavioural trait distinguishing overperforming versus underperforming businesses.

Imagination makes sense, right? So why is there seemingly a dearth of imagination in business today? How can business bridge the gap between their realities and the ideology of imagination?

This article was published exclusively on on March 1, 2022.