Market foresight is one of the key factors in crafting any organization’s strategy.

Naturally, different organizations have different needs when it comes to strategy but the essence of any strategy needs to be about building the future of the company. Thus, strategic planning should always include consideration of possible and probable futures in the organization’s relevant business environment.

I believe market foresight is about systematically gathering your business environment observations and continuously working with these in order to build a multi-faceted understanding of the surrounding world. Eventually coming up with own novel ideas and strategic targets then, that’s strategy and strategic planning.

It is the job of market foresight work to make sure appropriately diverse and relevant conclusions are made of the vast amount of data constantly surrounding us.

I think any organization serious about its strategy should also be serious about continuous market tracking and foresight work. There are many possible ways to use market foresight and insights in your organization’s strategy and even in day-to-day activities, at least as follows:

  1. Market foresight can help you in building long-term scenarios of your relevant business environment and, thus, in guiding your strategic positioning, target setting and roadmapping.
  2. For identification of new major opportunities (and for avoiding new entrant surprises) even in the short term, market foresight focusing on cross-industry developments is key. You may choose to track the cross-industry landscape as broad as you want, depending on the business you are in, and depending on the time frame you are dealing with.
  3. Market foresight can help in tracking buyer sentiment and behavior and, more importantly, foreseeable changes in them. You can search for these insights in the long-term or short-term, both among existing buyers and non-buyers.
  4. Systematic market foresight helps you also in separating the “fads” from the real trends to keep you focused on creating the right strategy and on choosing the right short-term focus areas.
  5. You may already have on-going strategic programs (or must-win battles), where you could bring in further steering via market foresight work focused on the areas relevant to those specific programs.

I’ve been happy to work with different organizations where one or more of these five different uses of market foresight have been applied.

I am fully convinced, that once you start systematically tracking your business environment and building your market foresight, the benefits will soon become evident.

Please tell us your experience in building market foresight! How has this helped you, how do you use the new insights in your organization?