As per the results published in, researchers of University of Texas concludes that the key to revolutionary business strategy lies in the strategist's ability to use a future-focused kind of imagination. These skills can be taught and nurtured through business academics. The results are published in the journal Advances in Strategic Management.
Researchers cite the example of Whole Foods. If Whole Foods were a replication of the past, it would be one more small health food store. However, John Mackey adopted another imagination of the future to combine an organic farmers market with a big grocery store. It worked.
The researchers lament that the current standard curriculum in even the top-tier business schools places too little emphasis on strategic imagination. The accepted methodology teaches students how to analyze the past and adapt to the present. However, without future-focused imagination, they would emerge breakthrough business achievements.
Anticipatory thinking, analogical reasoning and design thinking are all techniques that can catalyze strategic imagination, suggests the research. Students are expected to imbibe technological, economic and social trends that may come together in the future to brainstorm new goods that could, in some cases, open entirely new markets.