What makes a great corporate futurist

What kind of combination of traits would be good in foresight work? We wrote earlier about the tools, the ground rules, and different uses of market foresight. Here's one type of view on what could make a good combination for foresight and market tracking work, with some strategy execution also in mind.

1. Firm nose for a change

Take notice of the changes, the weak signals, observations, phenomena, and trends. The changes usually arise from something that might be "hiding in plain sight". Often the change factor is something that will be outside of your own business environment. (What do you see around right now - Pokemon Go? Uber? Drones?) From signals, we start to build foresight.

2. A hint of futurism

Ability to think ahead, sometimes WAY ahead. Combine the elements of the bigger picture, let the imagination run free, don't get tangled up in the restrictions of today. (In 1994, would anyone believed how we communicate, use entertainment, or how we are able to book and travel now? Heard of Claire yet?)

3. Brilliant eye for what really matters

The world is full of information, trends, insights, and analysis… most of it isn’t so relevant for you. Or is it? One still needs to be open enough to look at something that you might not first think is relevant... (Eg. what are the recent cultural changes that could affect the next arch of new services emerging. How could you start choosing your potential steps towards those?)

4. Realism

The ideas, implications, and scenarios are wonderful. Though, in the end, it has to come down to how can you turn the ideas into business with value. This is the exciting and often the scariest part. This is where the opportunities arise or fall. Is it your game? Or someone else'? Decision times my friend.

5. Excitement

Get excited! It can be a lot of fun! If it feels good. Trust your instincts; combine it with facts and potential.

Sensible thinking – Keep the feet on the ground and thinking continuously; is this aligned with the strategy? If not, what needs to be done to it? How can it affect the strategic targets of the future?

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Heli Salonen-McGrath worked at FIBRES with service delivery and marketing. She's a team worker and a doer, and loves to observe the world with an open mind and eyes. Every day is a new opportunity, right?

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