International Futures Day was just celebrated during March 1st. To honour the day, we organized a webinar and a breakfast event on topics like how companies prepare for futures, what is the main purpose for such work, and what tools are used to do so.
The background for discussion was provided with the recent online survey that was open for answers during early 2019. The stage was set for discussion with our CEO, Panu Kause, futurist Niko Herlin, and CEO Kirsi Kostia of Great Minds (a Finnish management consulting company). Here's our quick summary on it.
So how are companies preparing for futures? Meaning, what are the means of keeping up to date, keeping your finger on the pulse on the changes around us. Of respondents,
It's good to see that customers and customers' customers are being more and more central in business planning all the levels, top management to design teams. It seems like also that the ones still with no systematic procedure are seeking a way towards a new, continuous mode of working on their futures.
Next question is what for is the information gathered and used for:
With the discussions on the results at the breakfast, the time frame comes into picture during the purpose of the information. Seemed also that larger organisations tend to use the long-term scenario work, whereas smaller organisations favoured the more direct and more short-term input to their innovation work.
Who participates to the work then? Is it for everyone or just part of the organisation? Results show that nearly 50% say that everyone has an opportunity to participate to the future-related discussions. This can, of course, mean that it's by utilizing simple ways, like a feedback form or it may be something more specific. It does seem that even if there are companies willing to entice most of their organisation, but there are only a few who actually use some tools or software to support such work.
Only 23% said that they use a digital tool, or software for foresight and strategy work.
How to get people involved then? On the breakfast sessions discussion, we heard some really good examples of how organisations have started to tackle their foresight and futures discussion, and taking that as input for their strategic actions. Take the Finnish Tax Administration (Verohallinto) for example, they have started to move forward with more collaborative methods by starting a few times a year session with open collaboration and discussion on given phenomena or trends of taxing. For Verohallinto's and every citizen's point of interests can be the new revenue sources of platform economy for example. Local Finland (Kuntaliitto) also does a lot of work for spotting of weak signals and working on towards a common understanding of trends.
Kirsi's tips focused on the human side:
Niko spoke continuos ways and use of imagination:
And finally, Panu's point of view on the practicalities:
Futures Day is every day.
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