Summary of A Failure of Imagination

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A Failure of Imagination summary


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Modern executives often fall short in their vision for their firms and the future of their industries, says Mickey McManus, an expert in collaborative innovation and human-centered design. So how can company leaders aim higher? In this personable interview with Forbes columnist Peter High, McManus outlines several strategies. getAbstract recommends this talk to researchers, developers, designers and senior executives. 

In this summary, you will learn

  • How business leaders often undershoot in their visions for their firms and industries, and
  • Why human-centered design is the path forward.

About the Speaker

Trillions author Mickey McManus is senior adviser at Boston Consulting Group.



Today’s company leaders often undershoot as they set a vision for their businesses and industries. Prediction is becoming commoditized, bringing the cost of predictions to zero. Thus, former infeasibilities – such as the autonomous car – are possible. Humans may think they are superior in their creativity, but computers are starting to show creativity, too. A form of AI called Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) searches the Internet for unrealized possibilities and innovates them. This development prompts the question of how to define humanity apart from computers. The answer may be human passion and common sense. People should optimize these strengths while making the most of machine proficiencies. Interactions between humans and machines aren’t a zero-sum game; any strategies must prioritize humankind. In the 20th century, business sought to make everything and make it right. But 21st-century industry should put people first by asking what’s the right thing to make and for whom. Meanwhile, as automation feeds people’s growing uncertainty about their jobs and identities, learning can activate their curiosity and agency. 

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