Management by Imagination

Measurement is critical to understanding current and past performance, but data can only tell you so much. Measurement can fall short when you need to predict the future.


The future is about imagination, not measurement. To imagine a future, one has to look beyond the measurable variables, beyond what can be proven with past data.

To envision the future, use your imagination. Employ qualitative insights, inferences, and logic to help you determine what the future might be like and how your company can adjust, prepare, and be proactive. Think beyond what can be proven with data and use hypotheses and deduction to determine likely scenarios.

The imaginative faculty functions in two forms: “synthetic imagination” and “creative imagination”.

Synthetic Imagination joins our pre-existing ideas, our concepts, our products and plans and transforms them into new combinations. Very little of what is created today is absolutely original – from scratch, if you will. In fact, many of our greatest inventions are based upon the concept of synthetic imagination.

Creative Imagination is our intuition, our inspiration. It’s the faculty of forming mental images or concepts of what is not actually present to the senses. It’s by this faculty that all basic, or new ideas are handed over to us.

Summing-up: The perception that good management is closely linked to good measurement runs deep. The act of measurement provides security; if we know enough about something to measure it we almost certainly have some control over it. But however comforting it can be to stick with what we can measure, we run the risk of expunging something really important. What’s more, we won’t see what we’re missing because we don’t know what it is that we don’t know.

These notes have been taken from:

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