Category Archives: FutureHacking

What are Strategic and Market Foresight?

What are Strategic and Market Foresight?

by Braden Kelley

In my previous article What’s Next – Through the Looking Glass we explored the notion that time is not linear and this is a key part of the FutureHacking™ mindset.

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:

To learn more about Market Foresight, increase your knowledge of:

  • Market Research methods
  • Trendwatching/Trendhunting
  • 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.

Keep innovating!


Accelerate your change and transformation success

Image credit: Pixabay

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What’s Next – Through the Looking Glass

What's Next - Through the Looking Glass

by Braden Kelley

Humanity is obsessed with the future, and we always want to know what’s next for us.

Sometimes we want to know the future so badly that we stress ourselves out about imagined futures that won’t ever come to pass instead of dealing with what is right in front of us.

Time is Not Linear

Most people think of time in a linear fashion, but this is the wrong way of thinking about it.

It is more helpful instead to think of time as a wave (or as a pulse) emanating from a central point in an outward direction, representing all of the possible futures. Then as the next point in one of those possible futures becomes fixed, then another wave emanates from this new point representing all of the new possible futures. The math of what the future MIGHT look like gets really big, really fast – as you might imagine.

This is what makes predicting the future so difficult.

The number of inputs influencing the next step in your future journey is massive, and the number of potential next steps that are outputs of your next best action is equally massive.

So, while it is important to plan for the future and to develop a point of view on the future you would like to be the result of your actions, it is still just a guess. Making it more important and impactful to look at the near future more often than not.

Recently I came across a video from CableLabs that looks at one potential near future:

We Are Already Living in a Virtual Reality

The first choice the creators faced was augmented reality versus virtual reality, and you’ll see that they chose to highlight augmented reality instead of virtual reality. I think this is the right choice as many people would say we are living in a virtual reality already.

Our eyes and other sensory organs do their best to provide inputs to our brain about the physical reality we live in, but the information is often inaccurate and incomplete. Our brain tries to fill in the gaps, but there is some much we don’t understand about how the reality we live in operates.

The world we live in is already amazing, and there is more value in augmenting our experience of the reality we live within, than there is escaping into another reality that is more clumsy, awkward and lower fidelity than our experience of the virtual reality we live in now.

Our world is changing so fast that it is important for organizations and individuals to not just plan for the next month or the next quarter, but to plan for what we would like the near future to look like and think about the ways in which we would like to, and realistically can, influence it.

FutureHacking™ is Within Our Grasp

But the concepts of futurology and the role of the futurist seem pretty nebulous at best. It is because of this that I’ve begun creating a collection of FutureHacking™ tools to help you.

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 check out the embedded YouTube video and 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.

Keep innovating!

To read more about what scientists say we get wrong about time, check out this BBC article

Image Credit: Pixabay

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