Ten reasons why your organization should be using strategic foresight
The COVID-19 pandemic shredded the plans and strategies of public, private and nonprofit organizations globally. Those responsible for risk analysis, business development, strategy formulation, systems and planning, and overall leadership are struggling to understand what may come next as we emerge from the crisis.
Unsurprisingly, there has been a surge in interest in Strategic Foresight (albeit from a low base). Strategic Foresight, or simply Foresight, is a structured and systematic way of using ideas about the future to anticipate and better prepare for change. In circumstances of great uncertainty and complexity, and where the time frame concerned stretches into the medium-to-long term, Foresight methodologies can help an organization trying to make sense of the future.
Here are ten benefits that Foresight brings to organizations that use it:
1. Promotes innovation
Foresight nudges organizations into thinking more broadly about possibilities, including fresh ideas, approaches, products and services. In the process, it stimulates innovation to address challenges that emerge from alternative future scenarios.
2. Enhances agility
Foresight leads organizations to anticipate deviations from today’s norms and trends. With Foresight, organizations begin to think differently about how to achieve their goals, the various paths for achieving those goals, and the diversions and obstacles that may appear along the way. Organizations using Foresight are more agile and better situated to adapt quickly to changes.
3. Tests critical assumptions
Policy is always based on assumptions, some implicit, some explicit. Foresight challenges assumptions and can uncover invalid or otherwise flawed assumptions that form the foundation for important decisions and plans.
4. Enhances Resilience
An organization that uses Foresight strengthens its capacity to bounce back quickly from difficulties. It also draws attention to possibilities of a low-probability, high-impact event that might mark a change in direction for a trend or system (a black swan event).