All our knowledge is about the past, but all our decisions are about the future.
We create our future by what we do or don’t do today; it makes sense to try and understand as best we can what that future might be like before we act.
Foresight is not prediction! It is about getting an idea about what plausible futures might look like.
We are good at learning from the past ; we need to learn from the future as well – we need to develop a ‘history of the future’ as we do a ‘history of the past’.
What is Foresight?
Why think about the future? What we don’t know we don’t know What we know we don’t know What we know Most of what we need to know to make good decisions today is outside our comprehension: we don’t even know it’s there. All our knowledge is about the past, but all our decisions are about the future.
“ We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out”: Decca Recording Co. rejecting The Beatles , 1962.
“ 640K [of RAM] ought to be enough for anybody”: Bill Gates, 1981
“ The fact that conflicts with other countries [producing civilian casualties] have been conducted away from the U.S. homeland can be considered one of the more fortunate aspects of the American experience”: Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) for the US Dept of Defence, 2001
Impact-Uncertainty Classification Impact Uncertainty Critical Scenario Drivers Important Scenario Drivers Critical Planning Issues Important Planning Issues Important Planning Issues Important Scenario Drivers Monitor & re-assess Monitor Monitor Low Moderate High Low Mod High
How did your world develop? Stand in 2013 and look back over the major events that have occurred; list the events. Developing the timeline in 5 year intervals saves time, but you can also simply prepare a list of the events you think created your world.
Would your organisation exist in 2013?
What do you look like? Are you physical or virtual? Global? Specialist? Major characteristics of your customers? What do staff do?
Title of Scenario
Be creative! Imagine a title that describes the essence of your world, and that is memorable.
Narrative – the scenario story
Write up a paragraph or two to describe your world (skip this if you are running out of time).
Decide how you will present your scenario to the rest of the group. You’ll have about five minutes, so focus on the key elements of your world as they relate to tertiary institutions.
In the absence of well-developed set of scenarios, single-point forecasting and / or a reluctance to allow uncertainty (ie. the “predict and control” mentality) leads to a (usually unconscious) projection of an “official” future, which is the one assumed to be coming ...
This approach is functionally equivalent to (and an unconscious form of) the Gambling / “Bet the Farm” approach
Implementing scenario planning is exciting for those who do it – it changes the way you think.
Need open minds, tolerance for ambiguity and ‘fishing expeditions’.
Commitment to understanding the future better.
Implementation has to take place within broad foresight framework – scenario planning is a tool to help improve thinking about the future, not an end in itself.
Implementing Scenario Planning
Implementation Organisations are changing … Traditional strategic planning processes are no longer enough ! From To Command and control Empowerment Structured life Unstructured life Importance of size Need for speed Predictability Uncertainty Clarity Ambiguity Slow change Rapid change and obsolescence Reliance on processes Reliance on people Hierarchical or managed organisations Alliances and coalitions Avoiding risk Managing risk
Who can you work with to apply the scenarios in the organisation?
What will be the scope of the project, including what time frame – what will work for the organisation?
Who will be involved in the project?
Stage 4: Understand the Organisation
Stage 4: Understand the Organisation Fence-Sitters RATS - can smell the cheese, but jump ship; they have good organisational diagnostics Pragmatists Ideologues Get It Don’t Get It Bridge Builders FROGS - get it, and can use the system, very rare Laggards VULTURES - don’t bother, they are looking for you to fail True Believers LEMMINGS PITCH MESSAGE HERE Adapted from Andy Hines, 2002