Strategic Foresight is the process of creating plausible stories within a business context in order to provide insight, direction and ongoing dialogue.
Strategic Foresight is the ability to build strategic plans that are plausible, future-based and resilient in the face of an unpredictable market, disruptive landscape and rapid behavioral change. The creation of scenarios fosters story-telling within a wider business context, depicting how an organization may develop. Scenario planning is also another way of describing the strategic foresight approach.
Scenario planning is not about predicting the future, rather the real value lies in how scenarios unfold and link organizational functions such as strategy creation, innovation, risk management, policy, and operations.
Essentially, scenario planning helps to break the long entrenched habit of ‘extrapolation’ and assumes ‘disruption’ is part of the new normal. Strategic foresight helps organizations overcome the ingrained institutionalized concept of corporate planning.
The process of Strategic Foresight considers the emergent future, independent of today. At AOI we start with the future in order to break the subconscious habit of extrapolating from a viewpoint of today. Future scenarios are typically rich narratives of a plausible future state that provokes thinking and consideration. Once a key future scenario is seen as the most probably outcome it is critical that organizations continue to monitor the assumptions and key indicators.
Strategic foresight enables participants, involved in the process, to open their minds and discuss themes that are often taboo or previously see as inconceivable.
Strategic Foresight approach:
Frame – Define the strategic themes
Explore/Scan – Challenge underlying assumptions
Synthesise/Forecast – Determine what future we need to plan for
Vision/Act – Choose a future (vision) and potential pathways
Monitor -Create ongoing strategic dialogue
The only relevant discussions about the future are those where we succeed in shifting the question from whether something will happen, to what would we do if it did happen.