Updated: Sep 24
If I think of one word on the mind of leaders in all companies, and at all levels, it comes down to uncertainty. Whether it is trade or social conflict, new regulations, artificial intelligence, or the global pandemic leaders are uncertain about the future.
So, what can leaders do to gain clarity and grow revenue in an uncertain global economy projected to have slow growth?
Check out this short two-minute video on futures thinking and then keep reading.
Understanding Strategic Foresight
Many organizations do not possess the ability to implement change fast enough to avoid becoming obsolete. To survive organizations, and individuals need to become future smart. Future smart is identifying and understanding the drivers of changes as they are forming, so individuals and organizations can be architects of change.
Becoming future smart can be assisted by leveraging practices and frameworks from the field of strategic foresight. Strategic foresight is an ongoing process involving framing, scanning, forecasting, visioning, planning, and resulting in actions an organization takes to prepare for the future. Strategic foresight is a way of thinking, engaging, discovering, and acting.
The goal of strategic foresight is not to predict the future but enable better decision making and preparedness. Strategic foresight is a systemic view of change, considering not just the likely changes but all the possible potential changes. When we think about change and its impact on organizations, Kodak is an example of a company that knew digital cameras were coming but refused to let go of the belief that film would always be a part of their strategy. Strategic foresight is intended to help let go of old beliefs. Traditional strategic planning is heavily focused on the internal organization, and strategic foresight links the organization to the external environment recognizing the company will operate within a larger world rather than be only change in the world.
Strategic Foresight Benefits
No organization sets out to become obsolete, and there are many benefits with applying strategic foresight beyond avoiding obsolescence. Organizations benefit from being better prepared, having the right tools and resources at the right time, and improved decision making. Strategic foresight leads to enhanced change management and positions organizations to move from responding and reacting to change to architecting trends. Being the first to market and leading new trends fuels revenue growth.
About Strategic Foresight Tools
Achieving the benefits of strategic foresight is accomplished by applying proven tools so that vital information does not get overlooked. These tools help organizations look beyond current experiences and areas of capability where individuals and organizations typically focus. Strategic foresight tools increase both the scope and the degree of specificity of foresight. Tools increase the number of points of view to be considered and build individuals and organizations that are future smart.
Future Smart Workshop
If you are interested in learning more about strategic foresight principles, engaging in a company-specific foresight activity, and learning how to use a strategic foresight tool that will help you understand the future better, then this workshop is right for you. The workshop will take 90 minutes and involve a minimum of 5 participants and 25 participants. Contact us to learn more about bringing this virtual or in-person workshop to your team.
Limited-Time Free COVID Strategy Scenario Matrix Offer
Does your company have the right strategy for a post-COVID-19 world? Become future-ready with our FREE COVID-19 Strategy Scenario Matrix analysis. We will pressure test your strategy against likely realities and give you specific recommendations as well as a strategy rating! It's simple, easy, and painless. Request your strategy analysis today by clicking the following link: https://www.organizationaltalent.com/contact-us
According to the Institute for Management Development, the interplay of three factors – viral longevity, global mindset, and digital adoption – can lead to remarkably different future worlds. These divergent views on how the post-COVID-19 world might look, applied within our Strategy Scenario Matrix Analysis, will provide a stress test of your strategy against highly important and likely realities so you can prepare and become future-ready.
Canton, J. (2016). Future smart: Managing the game-changing trends that will transform your world (First Da Capo Press Paperback ed.). Da Capo Press.
Chermack, T. (2011). Scenario planning in organizations: How to create, use, and assess scenarios. Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.
Hines, A. (2006). Strategic foresight: The state of the art. The Futurist, 40(5), 18.
McGonigal, M. (2020). What’s a futures wheel [video]. Coursera. https://pt.coursera.org/lecture/collaborative-foresight/whats-a-future-wheel-7XNca
Ralston, B., and Wilson, I. (2006). Scan™: Radar for signals of change. In The scenario-planning handbook (pp. 245-257). South-Western.
The Audiopedia. (2017, April 4). What is strategic foresight? What does strategic foresight mean? Strategic foresight meaning [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9nfyn33ZFuY
Van Duijne , F., and Bishop, P. (2018). Introduction to strategic foresight [PDF]. Future Motions. http://www.futuremotions.nl/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/FutureMotions_introductiondoc_January2018.pdf
About the Author:
Jeff's knowledge and expertise include strategic foresight, strategic planning facilitation, strategy design, driving change, and workforce strategies to achieve influence and grow organizations in the pharmaceutical, retail, healthcare, technology, and food and beverage industries. Jeff Doolittle is the founder of Organizational Talent Consulting in Grand Rapids, MI. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (616) 803-9020. Visit https://www.organizationaltalent.com/strategic-planning-solutions to learn more about strategic planning services provided.