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What is Failure Of Imagination?

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Failure of imagination is the expectation that current and future opportunities and risks will resemble the past. The term is associated with major failures of risk management and strategy based on static, unimaginative and reactive thinking.

Risk Management

Risk management begins with identifying risks. This involves imagining the future and is a creative process. However, in some industries it is rarely approached in the spirit of creativity. Security organizations in particular are known for a tendency to expect the threats of the future to resemble the threats of the past.


In some cases, an industry that faces competitive threats is unable to respond in a creative way. An industry that is destined to be completely replaced by a new technology or changing social values may respond by tweaking the tools and techniques of its past. To an outside observer, this may appear hopelessly static and uninspired.
Overview: Failure Of Imagination
Definition (1)
The expectation that the future will resemble the past.
Definition (2)
An inability to adapt characterized by solving a problem by escalating a failing strategy.
Associated With
Business strategy that is bizarrely inadequate given competitive forces such as technological change.
Risk management and security that is overly focused on recent event patterns as opposed to imagining new threats.
Related Concepts

Risk Management

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Business As Usual
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Calculated Risk
Cascading Failure
Contingency Plan
Contingency Planning
Disaster Preparedness
Dread Risks
Economic Risk
Financial Risk
Innovation Risk
Investing Risk
Moment Of Risk
Plan Template
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Reputational Risk
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Risk Acceptance
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Risk Taking
Risk Tolerance
Risk Treatment
Risk Trigger
Risk-Reward Ratio
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