What's the future of interactive glass windows, interactive eyeglasses and 3D mirrors etc? Via a pair of glasses information and apps can be projected into the air and controlled by gestures and eye movement or just a thought? It is hard to imagine what's the future of Nokia, Ericsson or even Blackberry. What does strategy mean to these companies when there are so much unknowns?
Strategic planning is changing and many organizations are not designed or equipped for the changes we see happening. And with many business models going out of date in such rapid mode, every manager is trying to find ways to see the future. And they must adopt a different approach and mental mindset as it tries to embrace disequilibrium. The ability to imagine, analyse and prepare for the future is becoming very important. It does not only apply to technology or biotech industries. It is about survival for every business.
Preactivity basically guides all approaches to future studies, forecasting, scenario planning and strategic foresight. Proactivity aims to bring about the desired changes by means of strategic planning to effectively deal with not just the speed of change but also complexity, uncertainty and paradox and that's the reason why Strategic Foresight goes hand-in-hand with Deisgn Thinking. The future arises from a constant stream of individual, organizational and policy decisions, strategies and commitments that have to be made in the present, with as much understanding of risks, possibilities, wisdom and foresight as possible.
Strategic Foresight is not a tool kit. Or some wild card ideas.It is not fancy (and useless) diagrams or algorithm. It is both a process (transformational) and an outcome (results in knowledge and artifacts for, from, and about the future). Strategic Foresight is not about predicting the future. Rather it is more about framing, reframing, informing, opening up minds, and inspiring strategic dialogues about possible futures. You still need a good understanding of industry economics in order to apply it. It is not a design exercsie.
Strategic Foresights is still in its early stage of adoption and takes a while before it comes a core part of strategic planning. It enables companies to use weak signals to identify opportunities and threats. Weak signals are defined as poorly understood drivers of change and/or signals which are currently unconnected with a trend, industry or market and appear irrelevant on the surface. The identification and correct interpretation of weak signals can be vital to the success or survival of an organization.
An executive team equipped with powerful foresight capability will be able to make sense of, and respond to, the emerging pattern of threats and opportunities, and to use this understanding to manage risk and capitalize on opportunitie. It is not just about keeping the bad from not happening, afterall business is a continual dealing with the future; it is a continual reframig and reshaping your plan.