It's about preparation not predictions.
“I have to lead for tomorrow’s world.”
With these words, Jeff Immelt, the former CEO of GE, summed up the main challenge CEOs face, namely that the key job of a business leader is to ensure that his or her organization is not only competitive now, but remains competitive in the future. You make plans today to improve your position tomorrow.
Yet many organizations struggle to proactively shape their tomorrows, let alone envision new or ground-breaking possibilities.
Leadership focuses too much on fixed outcomes, and not agility to anticipate and proactively approach emerging futures.
As a result, organizations, teams and individuals find the future deeply challenging because they don’t have the necessary sense-making skills or the tools to identify and navigate toward their preferred future.
Nor do they have the means of experimenting with other possible pathways early enough to make a difference.
Our Strategic Foresight and Scenario Planning Sprints are a flexible, design and innovation-friendly approach to envision possible futures through a structured process.
- What is foresight?
Accounting data, competitor intelligence, market share, the success or failure of past initiatives, campaigns or products and consumer research covering near-term supply needs can be accurate in the present, however they are often unreliable predictors of the future.
Likewise presumptions that the future will merely be a continuation of the present does not accommodate the chaos, uncertainty and disequilibrium that develop during periods of rapid change.
Strategic foresight is a strategic activity that uses quantitative and qualitative data, frameworks and tools to build plausible visions of the future so that management can make informed decisions today.
2. How does it create value?
By mapping out alternative futures that could plausibly emerge, you can evaluate your competitive position in each of these scenarios, and plan accordingly. This could involve considering new business models, products, services, systems, user journeys or communications.
The big advantage is that it gives you flexibility:
- You can see where investment opportunities may arise.
- You can identify threats that may be inherent in one future landscape or another – and you may be able to anticipate what their warning signs will be.
- You can beef up your company’s relevant capabilities in time to take advantage of the changes you foresee – before your competitors do.
- Lastly, you and your team will build a flexible mindset, even in times of deep uncertainty.
3. How does it complement existing work streams?
In a constantly changing world, one thing is certain: if your strategic plan today is essentially a bet on one specific future developing, you may find yourself taken by surprise when things turn out differently. That means falling back to regroup, losing time, wasting resources.
However, with even a basic response already planned for the several ways your future could possibly unfold, you are certain to be better prepared for whichever future does materialize.
We offer Sprints and workshops for organisations looking to lead and make sense of change:
Option 1: Full option
- Scoping the question relevant to your organisation
- Identify change in terms of forces, signals and trends.
- Map implications and develop scenarios.
- Backcast prioritized strategic actions to immediate and near-term activities
Option 2: Trends Portion only
For teams that want to focus primarily on the forces, signals and trends around a key question relevant to your organisation.
Option 3: Scenarios Portion only
For teams that want a deeper understanding of scenarios and explore strategic actions around a key question relevant to your organisation.
Get in touch if you'd like to discuss a juicy future foresight project for your company.