Using foresight for innovation

Nov 1, 2018

In order to detect the early signs of disruptive forces - to out-think your competition - I think a systematic way of getting new inputs is crucial. A key use case of foresight work is to place trend implications on long-term strategic horizons and to use this as input for your own strategic positioning.

Horizon scanning and traditional foresight work focusing on long-term scenarios can sometimes be quite tedious. Don't get me wrong here. I think you still need to follow, identify, and evaluate trends impacting your business! Traditional foresight and scenario work of course have their place also. It's just that there are different solutions for different purposes. In short, my point is that foresight work can also serve as a more direct input to the more specific innovation programs and projects.

Innovation and trends

When you want to discover innovation, you need to be fast on discovery, focus, trial and doing. How about the use of an accelerated process for identifying and understanding the trends within a more specific context of innovation? With real ability do deep-dive into the driving forces behind the trends? Key point here is that such in-depth work enables a direct injection of trends understanding into those already chosen trials. Here are a few key things to consider, relating to such "accelerated" foresight for innovation purposes:

  • Why the work really is being done in the first place (strategic mandate, the reason)?
  • Be clear on which strategic horizon your work focuses on (even the same trend has different impacts in different points in time!)
  • Who is working on this (the team, people, also other resources) -> what kind of a skill set and capabilities are needed...and to put it frankly, who really are the right people for the job?
  • How do you evaluate the outputs of such a process?

Nothing new here really. I'm just saying that understanding the what and why the future-related information is worked upon, is really important. This sets the entire frame for a more meaningful foresight.

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Panu Kause is the founder and CEO at FIBRES. Before founding FIBRES, he held several management positions and ran his own foresight and strategy focused consultancy.

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