If we lived in a society that had no one looking ahead of the present, we would soon get stuck in an everlasting loop of stagnation. Fortunately, we live in a society quite the opposite: a plethora of people, businesses, communities, and every other actor imaginable are rigorously working to make their dent in the universe, thus forever disabling status quo.
From an established business’ point of view, this is why foresight work is needed. You need continuous and systematic work to keep up with the pace, to base your own development on plausible trends, and still to take charge of building a future fit for yourself.
Foresight work is always going to be needed to keep you not just up to date but ahead of competition. Investing resources into foresight work is the same as investing resources in your organization’s future. Primarily, foresight work includes surveying and identifying the movement of change, events, and impending concerns. Foresight work is about imagining the alternative future, constructing an enhanced scenario to fit your business needs.
How, then, should such foresight work be organized? Well, we believe in these four ground rules, at least:
- Foresight work should be based on primarily looking at cross-industry developments, not on the on-going trends of the current industry. We’re almost fed up with the words ‘disruption’ and ‘innovation’, but in short: those really major new ideas and implementations rarely emerge from within existing industry boundaries.
- Foresight work should ultimately be based on a combination of external market tracking and organization-specific sense-making. Standard trend reports rarely bring direct value to any one given organization. Sense-making needs to take into account a number of organization-specific backgrounds one can never derive from trend reports. In short, real strategic insight is always a combination of the understanding of external changes and internal capabilities and drivers.
- The people involved in your foresight work should include open-minded individuals from all walks of life, and certainly also from outside your own organization. Your own people are always limited in their insights. There are some 7 billion people outside your organization, and let me assure you, all the smart people of the world do not today work for your organization.
- Foresight work should feed directly into your strategy and daily work, and have a continuous feedback loop. Even if you may outline your beliefs and strategies for the long-term, you should not make the mistake of stopping there. You always need to test and update your assumptions, always to learn more, always to remain agile.
Putting in the hours and human capital on foresight work will bring you closer to your goals, by preparing you for what could happen and, more importantly, by letting you create the future.
Implementing foresight work will prepare your organization for the future, to help plan your path by uncovering patterns, holes and hidden opportunities in the market. It is important to not just study the past but to delve into the future, to become the pioneer of the market.
So now you know some of our thoughts on the essence of foresight work. Take a step towards the future and let FIBRES support your plans. Sign up to try out our demo.