by Braden Kelley
To paraphrase, we get to the future not in a straight line, but by hopping from lily pad to lily pad and as we do so our landings create ripples outward in all directions and our jump direction choices and the amplitude of the ripples at each waypoint determines the shape of our path choice and our view on the potential future. And ultimately futurology and futurism are the disciplines of exploring potential, possible and preferable futures.
Only from a continuous commitment to this exploration can any organization have any chance of ongoing success. But trying to make sense of the future and to find productive ways to shape it – feels incredibly dauting to most people.
To simplify this complexity, I created the FutureHacking™ methodology and tools to enable us average humans to become our own futurist.
“FutureHacking™ is the art and science of getting to the future first.”
This is our goal. To get better at finding the best possible path and the best ripples to amplify. Doing so optimizes our distance and chosen directions so that we arrive at our preferred future. The FutureHacking™ methodology and tools make this not only possible, but accessible, so that we’ll put in the work – and reap the benefits!
This article is another in a series designed to make foresight and futurology accessible to the average business professional. Below we will look at what Strategic and Market Foresight are and how they drive ongoing business success. First some definitions:
- Strategic Foresight is about combining methods of futures work with those of strategic management. It is about understanding upcoming external changes in relation to internal capabilities and drivers.
- Market Foresight is about the consideration of possible and probable futures in the organization’s relevant business environment, and about identifying new opportunities in that space.
- Source: Aalto University
Strategic Foresight and Market Foresight are two tools in our toolbox as we sharpen our focus on the potential and possible futures as we work to define a preferable future and a path to creating it.
Market Foresight gives us permission to explore how the market we compete in is likely to change as we move forward. This includes looking at how customers may change, how their consumption of existing products and services might change, and how changing customer wants and needs will create the potential for new products, and services, and even markets. Economics, demographics, trends and other factors all have a factor to play here, and we need methods for exploring the impact of each.
Strategic Foresight gives us permission to make shifts in strategy. The magic happens when we productively look both internally and externally to identify the most important changes that we can influence AND that we would monitor. The better we can understand the external changes most likely to occur (or that we want to occur), the more focus we can bring to identifying the internal capabilities that we will need to strengthen and the capabilities that we will need to build OR to buy & integrate.
The most successful organizations do a good job of matching their timeline for strategic and capability changes to the pace of market changes that are occurring. And while not explicitly mentioned, the pacing and branching of technology is a big consideration in both Strategic Foresight and Market Foresight.
Good Market Foresight will give you a better view to where the lily pads will be, and good Strategic Foresight (and investments) will help strengthen your jumping legs and propel you through a more optimal path – increasing your chances of getting to the future first!
Public resources for those that want to learn more about Strategic Foresight:
- U.S. Office of Personnel Management Strategic Foresight Guide
- Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Strategic Foresight Guide
To learn more about Market Foresight, increase your knowledge of:
- Market Research methods
- Innovation frameworks
FutureHacking™ is Within Our Grasp
I’ve created a collection of 20+ FutureHacking™ tools to help you be your own futurist.
These tools will be available to license soon, and I’ll be holding virtual, and possibly in-person, workshops to explain how to use these simple tools to identify a range of potential futures, to select a preferred future, and activities to help influence its realization.
I think you’ll really like them, but in the meantime, I invite you to share your thoughts on how you look at and plan for the future in the comments below.
Finally, make sure you’re subscribed to our newsletter to get our weekly collection of articles, along with updates on the forthcoming FutureHacking™ set of tools.
Image credit: Pixabay
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