MGT581 The Nature of Strategic Foresight

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  • One of Jung's favourite quotes on synchronicity was from Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll , in which the White Queen says to Alice: "It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards“. 'It's very good jam,' said the Queen. 'Well, I don't want any TO-DAY, at any rate.' 'You couldn't have it if you DID want it,' the Queen said. 'The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday--but never jam to-day.' 'It MUST come sometimes to "jam to-day,"' Alice objected. 'No, it can't,' said the Queen. 'It's jam every OTHER day: to-day isn't any OTHER day, you know.' 'I don't understand you,' said Alice. 'It's dreadfully confusing!' 'That's the effect of living backwards,' the Queen said kindly: 'it always makes one a little giddy at first--' 'Living backwards!' Alice repeated in great astonishment. 'I never heard of such a thing!' '--but there's one great advantage in it, that one's memory works both ways.' 'I'm sure MINE only works one way,' Alice remarked. 'I can't remember things before they happen.' 'It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards,' the Queen remarked.
  • Singular? He who speaks about the future lies, even when he tells the truth....Arab Proverb For every glance behind us, we have to look twice to the future....Arab Proverb
  • Long-term time horizon Many domains and factors Unfamiliar territory Discontinuities, transitions between eras Alternative forecasts, different outcomes Qualitative techniques Preventing big surprises
  • Wider - broad scope, big picture Deeper - meaning, drivers, behind the details Longer - change and implications
  • Trends, discontinuities and choices are each the primary ingredients to the three types of futures we deal with – Trends (and other elements like plans) lead to the expected, baseline (probable) future. The probable future occurs if all the assumptions made about the world are correct. It is more likely than any other single future, but its absolute probability is quite small since so many other things could happen instead. Discontinuities (or alternative assumptions) lead to the other alternative (plausible) futures. As a set, they are much more likely to occur, but any single one is still quite improbable. Choices (and actions) lead to the preferred future.
  • Collaborative & facilitation skills
  • Exploring, finding new lands vice mapping existing lands (Columbus, ship)  mature business
  • Collaboration vs. operating in a vacuum, participatory, moreso than any other analysis type Not just emerging technology (social, economic, demographic, geo-political) #4 - holistic Business-oriented R&D ???
  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bryan-monroe/apples-new-tablet-been-th_b_416960.html

Transcript

  • 1. David A. JarvisSalve Regina University, MGT581 Business Foresight & Futuring, June 4-7, 2012The Nature of Strategic Foresight:An Introduction
  • 2. The Nature of Strategic Foresight – Jarvis – MGT581 Business Foresight & Futuring, June 4-7, 2012 7 Billion 2
  • 3. The Nature of Strategic Foresight – Jarvis – MGT581 Business Foresight & Futuring, June 4-7, 2012 Hans Rosling 3
  • 4. The Nature of Strategic Foresight – Jarvis – MGT581 Business Foresight & Futuring, June 4-7, 2012 “It is a poor sort of memory that only works backwards…”  Scientists have studied how people re-experience past events and pre- experience possible future events using fMRI  The brains memory circuits are not just for reflecting on the past, but are also for imagining, anticipating, and preparing for the future  The brain is a proactive system that integrates past experience to help navigate the future 4SOURCE: HBR, http://blogs.hbr.org/your-health-at-work/2010/09/how-your-brain-connects-the-fu.html
  • 5. The Nature of Strategic Foresight – Jarvis – MGT581 Business Foresight & Futuring, June 4-7, 2012 Seven lessons of the great explorers 1. Prepare for what you will face in the future 2. Anticipate future needs 3. Use poor information when necessary 4. Expect the unexpected 5. Think long-term as well as short- term 6. Dream productively 7. Learn from your predecessorsSOURCE: Edward Cornish, Futuring: The Exploration of the Future 5
  • 6. The Nature of Strategic Foresight – Jarvis – MGT581 Business Foresight & Futuring, June 4-7, 2012What is this stuff called anyway? futuring prospective ? foresight futurology futuristics futuribles future(s) studies 6
  • 7. The Nature of Strategic Foresight – Jarvis – MGT581 Business Foresight & Futuring, June 4-7, 2012Why is it important to study the future? to inform to prepare to control to shape to create to improve to avoid to guide 7
  • 8. The Nature of Strategic Foresight – Jarvis – MGT581 Business Foresight & Futuring, June 4-7, 2012The purposes of futures studies “The purposes of futures studies are to discover or invent, examine and evaluate, and propose possible, probable and preferable futures.” - Wendell Bell, Foundations of Futures Studies, Vol. 1 8
  • 9. The Nature of Strategic Foresight – Jarvis – MGT581 Business Foresight & Futuring, June 4-7, 2012 Key assumptions about futures studies The universe Our world People Time is continuous, linear, The most useful Futures thinking is unidirectional and knowledge is “knowledge essential for human action irreversible of the future” The future is not totally The future cannot be Future outcomes can be predetermined observed – there are no influenced by individual facts about the future and collection action Not everything that will Interdependence requires Some futures are better exist has existed or does a holistic perspective and than others – we have a exist approach choiceSOURCE: Wendell Bell, Foundations of Futures Studies, Vol. 1, 1996 9
  • 10. The Nature of Strategic Foresight – Jarvis – MGT581 Business Foresight & Futuring, June 4-7, 2012The goal of studying the future is to prevent surpriseand better prepare for changeThe future predictable static is NOT: singular linear 10
  • 11. The Nature of Strategic Foresight – Jarvis – MGT581 Business Foresight & Futuring, June 4-7, 2012 Understanding how 1 change works in order to reduce uncertainty 11
  • 12. The Nature of Strategic Foresight – Jarvis – MGT581 Business Foresight & Futuring, June 4-7, 2012 Futures studies is different 2 than traditional forecasting techniques 12
  • 13. The Nature of Strategic Foresight – Jarvis – MGT581 Business Foresight & Futuring, June 4-7, 2012 Two approaches to forecasting Traditional Futures / Foresight Short-term horizon (immediate) Long-term horizon Single domain (specialization) Many domains Few factors (reductionism) Many factors Focus on continuity (models) Focus on discontinuity Hide uncertainty (assumptions) Reveal uncertainty Single forecast (predictions) Alternative forecasts Quantitative techniques (math) Qualitative techniquesSOURCE: Dr. Peter Bishop, Futures Studies, University of Houston 13
  • 14. The Nature of Strategic Foresight – Jarvis – MGT581 Business Foresight & Futuring, June 4-7, 2012 Approaches topics and 3 problems with a more comprehensive perspective 14
  • 15. The Nature of Strategic Foresight – Jarvis – MGT581 Business Foresight & Futuring, June 4-7, 2012 Futurists are systems thinkers, looking at 4 disparate trends and emerging issues and how they are interrelated 15
  • 16. The Nature of Strategic Foresight – Jarvis – MGT581 Business Foresight & Futuring, June 4-7, 2012 Futures studies is an art 5 and a science 16
  • 17. The Nature of Strategic Foresight – Jarvis – MGT581 Business Foresight & Futuring, June 4-7, 2012 Three common types of futures thinking Future Description Beliefs Metaphor Order, Predictability, according to causality, Probable natural law, is the default connectedness, A river (the predictable) assumption for physical determinism, and social sciences flow History and natural Chance, Plausible phenomenon as the result uncertainty, A dice game (the contingent) of surprising contingencies contingency and inherent uncertainty Responsibility for the Free will, Preferable future on individuals’ dominance of A blueprint (the chosen) intentions and actions human abilitySOURCE: Dr. Peter Bishop, University of Houston 17
  • 18. The Nature of Strategic Foresight – Jarvis – MGT581 Business Foresight & Futuring, June 4-7, 2012 Three common types of futures thinking (cont.) Future Forces Thinking Techniques Probable Constants Definite Historical analogy (baseline) Trends Scientific Extrapolation Plausible Discontinuities Speculative Scenarios (alternative) Surprises Imaginative Simulation Preferable Choices Visionary Visioning (visionary) Images Empowered PlanningSOURCE: Dr. Peter Bishop, University of Houston 18
  • 19. The Nature of Strategic Foresight – Jarvis – MGT581 Business Foresight & Futuring, June 4-7, 2012 A “futurist” needs to have a number of different characteristics & qualities  Analytic  Enthusiastic  Curious  Business-minded  Creative  Opportunity focused  Visionary  Persuasive  Comfortable with  Can concurrently hold ambiguity multiple viewpoints  Risk-taker  Multi-disciplinary Need to be a “deep generalist” 19
  • 20. The Nature of Strategic Foresight – Jarvis – MGT581 Business Foresight & Futuring, June 4-7, 2012 Barriers to understanding the future Lack of information What we don’t know Incorrect theories What we think we know Unexamined assumptions What we believe we know Biggest mistake – The future will be just like today, only more soSOURCE: Dr. Peter Bishop, University of Houston 20
  • 21. The Nature of Strategic Foresight – Jarvis – MGT581 Business Foresight & Futuring, June 4-7, 2012 Barriers to understanding the future – specific theories We tend to overestimate how much well be able The planning fallacy to get done in a particular time period Whatever is willed We overstate how much our willpower will help will be us achieve our goals Construal Level We think less concretely the further we think into Theory the futureSOURCE: “The Wrong Way to Plan for the Future”, io9, http://io9.com/5912199/the-wrong-way-to-plan-for-the-future 21
  • 22. The Nature of Strategic Foresight – Jarvis – MGT581 Business Foresight & Futuring, June 4-7, 2012 “Strategic Foresight is the ability to create and maintain a high-quality, coherent and functional forward view, and to use the insights arising in useful organisational ways. For example to detect adverse conditions, guide policy, shape strategy, and to explore new markets, products and services. It represents a fusion of futures methods with those of strategic management.” - Richard A. Slaughter 22
  • 23. The Nature of Strategic Foresight – Jarvis – MGT581 Business Foresight & Futuring, June 4-7, 2012Strategic foresight requires a different approach,tools, and analytical skills It is more about finding land… and less about cartography 23
  • 24. The Nature of Strategic Foresight – Jarvis – MGT581 Business Foresight & Futuring, June 4-7, 2012What makes strategic foresight different? Approach Focus Generally, more provocative Analyzes a longer time horizon Less quantitative than other Focuses on new or immature types of market analyses markets Trends and emerging issues are Concentrates on external most important market forces Employs non-traditional Always global in nature business skills and methods 24
  • 25. The Nature of Strategic Foresight – Jarvis – MGT581 Business Foresight & Futuring, June 4-7, 2012Typical strategic foresight framework for businesses Customer Market Competitive Technology Foresight Foresight Foresight Foresight 25
  • 26. The Nature of Strategic Foresight – Jarvis – MGT581 Business Foresight & Futuring, June 4-7, 2012 A structure for strategic foresight FORESIGHT  Volatility  Vision  Uncertainty  Understanding  Complexity  Clarity  Ambiguity  Agility INSIGHT ACTIONSOURCE: Bob Johansen, “Get There Early: Sensing the Future to Compete in the Present”, Institute for the Future, 2007 26
  • 27. The Nature of Strategic Foresight – Jarvis – MGT581 Business Foresight & Futuring, June 4-7, 2012 Benefits of strategic foresight to an organization Vision Understanding  Having an understanding of the future  A sense of direction in the face of increases trust, strengthens volatility relationships  Provides context for external events  Trust is essential in times of uncertainty Clarity Agility  Increase organizational flexibility and  Helps to frame and facilitate responsiveness – more natural discussions around new ideas and evolution markets  Stay ahead of potential surprises and  Reduces the complexity for a client the competition “If you don’t study the future, you cannot influence it.” - ADM James Hogg (Ret.)SOURCE: Bob Johansen, “Get There Early: Sensing the Future to Compete in the Present”, Institute for the Future, 2007 27
  • 28. The Nature of Strategic Foresight – Jarvis – MGT581 Business Foresight & Futuring, June 4-7, 2012There are many examples of a failure of foresightmortgage-backed assets global competition, innovation Deepwater oil leakanalog to digital photography electronic books online video 28
  • 29. The Nature of Strategic Foresight – Jarvis – MGT581 Business Foresight & Futuring, June 4-7, 2012 VIDEO (The Tablet Newspaper – 13:22) 29