Re-thinking Strategic Planning: A Futures Perspective

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Change the way you see strategic planning to build stronger strategy. Presentation made to the Association of University Administrators Conference, Nottingham, 2007.

Change the way you see strategic planning to build stronger strategy. Presentation made to the Association of University Administrators Conference, Nottingham, 2007.

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  • 1. STRATEGIC PLANNING REVISITED: A FUTURES PERSPECTIVE Maree Conway Association of University Administrators Conference April 2007
  • 2. A BIT ABOUT ME
    • 25+ years as a manager in higher education and TAFE, in a range of institutions in Brisbane and Melbourne, and in a range of jobs (student admin, faculty admin, secretariat, policy, planning, quality and statistics). Almost 15 of those years at Swinburne University - in six jobs.
    • Five internal re-structures at Swinburne led me to foresight in 1999, when I established a Foresight and Planning unit that lasted until 2004.
    • After the demise of foresight at Swinburne, I moved to Victoria University in March 2005 to pursue futures work (as well as quality, planning, statistics and surveys).
  • 3. A BIT ABOUT ME
    • Enrolled in Masters in Strategic Foresight at Swinburne.
    • Planning a PhD on the conflicting and converging images of the future held by academics and administrators in universities.
    • Consulting work (scenario planning) internally at Swinburne and VU, for government (eg DEST, Centrelink) and business organisations (eg Gold Coast Water).
    • Practitioner focus - how to use futures approaches in strategy development processes in universities and organisations.
  • 4. A BIT ABOUT ME
    • My other life is working with ATEM:
      • to build ATEM’s profile in the sector;
      • to develop the emerging profession of tertiary education administration and management; and
      • to build understanding of administrators and managers about what it means to be “professional’.
    • What I’ve learned:
      • people find it very hard to ‘let go’ of deeply held assumptions and ways of thinking and operating (ATEM has spent 30 years struggling with its identity); and
      • passion and commitment don’t matter if there isn’t a shared view about what the Association’s core business is, and where the Association is going in the future .
  • 5. TODAY
    • Learning Outcomes
      • To appreciate the essential differences between strategic thinking, strategic decision making and strategic planning.
      • To use an integral model to design strategy and planning frameworks.
      • To explore how futures approaches may be appropriate in your institution (lessons from practice).
  • 6. TODAY
    • Will be working fast today and covering a lot of material to provide an introduction to a futures perspective on strategic planning.
    • I work in a university and use them as my reference point, but applies to all types of educational institutions.
    • Please interrupt and ask questions as we go along.
    • Participate as much or little as you want.
  • 7. TODAY
    • Strategic Planning? Or Strategy Development and Implementation?
    • Futures
      • What is Futures?
      • Why futures?
      • Integral Futures
    • Futures in Strategy Development & Implementation
    • Building a Strategic Foresight Capacity
    • But … this wouldn’t work in my institution! Or would it? Lessons from Practice
  • 8. STRATEGIC PLANNING? OR STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION?
  • 9. WHAT IS STRATEGIC PLANNING?
    • What are we talking about?
    • Your definitions?
  • 10. STRATEGIC PLANNING
    • Strategic planning is not about planning strategically.
    • Strategic planning is the process of documenting an plan to implement and monitor an agreed strategy.
    • Just semantics? Perhaps, but …
  • 11. STRATEGIC PLANNING
    • “ Planning lacks a clear definition of its own place in organizations” (Mintzberg, 1994:5).
    • “ It may well be that the typical strategic planning exercise now conducted on a regular and formal basis and infused with quantitative data misses the essence of the concept of strategy and what is involved in thinking strategically” (Sidorowicz, 2000:2).
    • “ While the need for planning has never been greater, the relevance of most of today’s planning systems and tools is increasingly marginal” (Fuller, 2003:2).
  • 12. So, is what we commonly understand to be strategic planning the whole game?
  • 13. STRATEGIC PLANNING? Strategic Planning Taking Action How will we do it? Actions No … it’s the last step …
  • 14. STRATEGIC PLANNING? Decisions Strategic Decision Making Making choices What will we do? The Vice-Chancellor usually ends up making the ultimate strategy decision. But … what informs that decision?
  • 15. STRATEGIC PLANNING? Strategic Thinking Generating Options What might happen? Options Strategic thinking is probably the least defined and least well understood part of the strategy process. What informs strategy at your institution?
  • 16. STRATEGIC PLANNING?
    • Strategic planning is but one of three interdependent and overlapping steps in the development and implementation of strategy.
  • 17. STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION Strategic Thinking Generating Options What might happen? Strategic Decision Making Making choices What will we do? Strategic Planning Taking Action How will we do it? Options Decisions Actions
  • 18. STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION
    • Differentiating among the three steps is important.
    • It is simpler to use ‘strategic planning’ but, it blurs the boundaries between the three steps.
    • Each step has a distinct focus.
    • Each step needs different methods and approaches.
  • 19. STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION
    • Strategic thinking : synthetic, intuitive, inductive, deals with incomplete information
    • Strategic decision making : options, choices, decisions, destinations
    • Strategic planning : analytical, logical, deductive, staying on track
  • 20. REFLECTION: STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION
    • Can you describe your institution’s strategic thinking processes?
  • 21. STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION
    • So, while it is more words and harder to say quickly ...
      • strategy development and implementation is a more accurate term for what we are talking about (SDI?)
    • But, where does a futures perspective come into it?
  • 22. FUTURES AND STRATEGY Strategic Thinking Generating Options What might happen? Strategic Decision Making Making choices What will we do? Strategic Planning Taking Action How will we do it? Options Decisions Action Futures Approaches and Methods
  • 23. FUTURES: WHAT IS FUTURES?
  • 24. UP FRONT, SOME TERMINOLOGY
    • Foresight : an often unconscious individual capacity to think about the future.
    • Strategic Foresight : an organisational foresight capacity.
    • Futures : the broad academic field now developing globally; interdisciplinary and inclusive in its approach.
    • Futurists : those who work in futures, either as academics, consultants (outside organisations) and as practitioners within organisations.
    • Scenario planning : a futures methodology.
  • 25. FORESIGHT?? FUTURES??
    • ‘ Foresight ’ is the capacity to think systematically about the future to inform today's decision making. It is a capacity that we need to develop as individuals, as organisations, and as a society.
    • ' Futures ' refers both to the research, methods and tools that are ava i lable for us to use to develop a foresight capacity, and to the field in which futurists work .
  • 26. FUTURES STUDIES
    • Futures Studies is an emerging academic discipline focused around the development of alternative futures:
      • to assist people in choosing and creating the most desirable future, using any combination of the past, present knowledge, imagination, desires and needs,
      • to highlight that individuals, groups, cultures etc., are not set on a deterministic path to a single unitary future but, by using their powers of foresight and decision-making, can select from a wide range of future trajectories and outcomes, and
      • to explore the unanticipated, unintended and unrecognised consequences of social action.
      • Source: http://www.cambridgeuniversityfutures.co.uk/home.asp
  • 27. FUTURES PRINCIPLES
    • There is always more than one future.
    • The future is not pre-determined – we have alternatives.
    • The future is not predictable – we have choices.
    • The future can be influenced – there are consequences of our choices and action today for future generations.
    • Hence, we have a responsibility to act wisely in the present .
    Adapted from Amara, and Voros
  • 28. A MESSAGE FROM FUTURE GENERATIONS…
    • You are alive at a pivotal moment in humanity’s development. You are making some of the most important choices in human history. Your era is marked by positive and negative potentials of such newness and magnitude that you can hardly understand them. Through your public policies and daily lives, the people of your era have tremendous power to influence the future course of humanity’s story . We strongly care about your choices, of course, since we benefit or suffer from them quite directly. We live downstream from you in time; whatever you put into the stream flows on to our era .
    Allen Tough, A Message from Future Generations, http://www.wfs.org/fgtough2.htm
  • 29.
    • We cannot ‘know’ the future in the same way that we ‘know’ the present.
    • There are no future ‘facts’.
    • Futures work explores ideas about the future, not the future itself .
    FUTURES PRINCIPLES
  • 30. FUTURES TIME
    • Near Term Future - Up to one year from now
    • Short Term Future – 1-5 years from now
    • Mid-Term Future - 5 - 20 years from now
    • Long Range Future - 20 - 50 years from now
    • Far Future - 50 plus years from now
  • 31. FUTURES TIME
    • From our vantage point of the present, we interpret the past, and we anticipate the future.
    • But, we have blind spots.
    • We can deny past acts, and we can avoid/negate future acts, depending on our perspective in the present.
    • We need to understand our worldview and how we see and make sense of the past, present and future.
  • 32. FUTURES PUSH AND PULL Technology, Demographics, Economics, Science etc PRESENT Ideas, Images, Hopes, Fears FUTURE CONSTRAINTS
  • 33. THE FUTURE AS A STRATEGIC LANDSCAPE The ‘self’ journeys across the chessboard to the mountain, which lies in the medium term future The strategic objective: • A compelling, relevant future • BHAG—“Big Hairy Audacious Goal” • A concrete, specific goal • A challenge, but achievable The strategic environment: • Strategic implementation and tactics • Threats and opportunities • Actions of other strategic actors • Driving forces • Mapped and understood using scenarios The purpose of the organization • A “future-focused role image” • Not completed or “used up” Strategic identity: • Current reality • Self-knowledge • Strengths and weaknesses • Values • Preferences and experience ‘ The Chessboard’ — Issues and challenges we are likely to face ‘ The Star’ — Our enduring and guiding social role ‘ The Mountain’ — What we hope to achieve ‘ The Self’ — Our values and attributes as a strategic player “ Star, mountain, chessboard, self” image © 1999
  • 34. TYPES OF FUTURES
    • Potential – all futures, imagined or not yet imagined
    • Possible - “might” happen (future knowledge)
    • Plausible – “could” happen (current knowledge)
    • Probable - “likely to” happen (current trends)
    • Preferable - “want to” happen (value judgements )
  • 35. TYPES OF FUTURES Time Today Possible Plausible Probable Preferable Scenario “ Wildcard”
  • 36. GENERIC FORESIGHT MODEL Inputs Strategy Outputs Analysis Interpretation “ what might we need to do?” “ what will we do?” “ how will we do it?” “ what’s really happening?” “ what seems to be happening?” things happening Foresight Copyright © 2000 Joseph Voros “ what might happen?” Prospection
  • 37. FUTURES: WHY FUTURES?
  • 38. WHY THINK ABOUT THE FUTURE? 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. What we don’t know we don’t know What we know we don’t know What we know
  • 39.
    • “ Inventions have long since reached their limit, and I see no hope for future development”: Roman engineer Sextus Julius Frontinus, 1st Century AD
    • &quot;Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction.“: Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872
    • “ Heavier than air flying machines are not possible”: Lord Kelvin, President of the Royal Society, 1895
    • &quot;There is no likehood man can ever tap the power of the atom.&quot; Robert Millikan, Nobel Prize in Physics, 1923
    • “ Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau”: Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale University, 1929
    • “ Space flight is hokum”: Astronomer Royal, 1956
    BECAUSE THINGS CHANGE!
  • 40.
    • “ We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out”: Decca Recording Co. rejecting The Beatles , 1962.
    • “ I think there is a world market for maybe 5 computers”: Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM, 1943
    • &quot;There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home”: Ken Olson, founder of Digital Equipment, 1977
    • “ 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
    BECAUSE THINGS CHANGE!
  • 41. BECAUSE THINGS CHANGE!
    • “ We live in a time of clashing conflict and massive institutional failures, a time of endings and of beginnings. A time that feels as if something profound is shifting and dying while something else … wants to be born … The crisis of our time is about the dying of an old social structure, an old way of institutionalizing and enacting collective social forms.”
    • C Otto Scharmer, 2005
    • www.ottoscharmer.com
  • 42. BECAUSE THINGS CHANGE!
    • At a time when human societies are altering the fundamental conditions of life on planet earth, the dominant outlook remains a focus on short term thinking .
    • Short term thinking is a major systemic defect within the industrial worldview.
    • The world we are creating leads to Dystopian futures.
    • Richard Slaughter, 2003
    • www.foresightinternational.com.au
  • 43. WHY THINK ABOUT THE FUTURE?
    • Because :
      • it is largely unknown, unpredictable, unpredictable and non-determined, so we need to:
        • try and understand that uncertainty to make sense of what is going on today, and
        • find ways of understanding possible futures that are only just emerging,
      • it helps to assess the potential future risk of action we are considering today
  • 44. WHY THINK ABOUT THE FUTURE?
    • And because:
      • we create the future through our actions and decisions today, individually and collectively , so we need to pay attention to it
      • we are responsible for future generations as well as ourselves
      • and … you want to avoid saying something that sounds really smart at the time but which ends up as a quote in a presentation like this 20 years later 
  • 45. WORLDVIEWS…
    • Humans do not make rational, logical decisions based on information input, instead they pattern match with either their own experience, or collective experience expressed as stories. It isn’t even a best fit pattern match, but a first fit pattern match … The human brain is also subject to habituation, things that we do frequently create habitual patterns which both enable rapid decision making, but also entrain behaviour in such a manner that we literally do not see things that fail to match the patterns of our expectations .
    • Dave Snowden 2003: 1
  • 46. WORLDVIEWS…
    • The majority is not always right, the conventional wisdom is not always wise, and the accepted doctrine could well be flawed. The more fashionable an idea, the more it is likely to be exempt from critical evaluation. Breakthrough thinking sometimes calls for contradicting the most widely held assumptions and beliefs.
    •  
    • Karl Albrecht
    • Corporate Radar, Tracking the Forces That Are Shaping Your Business, 1999.
  • 47. WORLDVIEWS (THE INNER PERSPECTIVE)
    • Being aware of our particular worldviews, our expectations, and how we see the world.
    • Understanding what our blind spots are – what is it that we don’t see because of who we are.
    • Being open to accepting different worldviews – not better or worse, just different. And, it’s okay (or it should be) to say “No, I don’t see the world in the way that you do.”
  • 48. REFLECTION: WORLDVIEWS (THE INNER PERSPECTIVE)
    • Can you identify assumptions underpinning your worldview?
  • 49. FUTURES: INTEGRAL FUTURES
  • 50. INTEGRAL FUTURES
    • Integral Futures
      • Ken Wilber’s four quadrants (www.kenwilber.com)
    • SDI using the four quadrants
    • Understanding your role in the process
  • 51. INTEGRAL FUTURES
    • A holistic view of all phenomenon, not just the empirically observable or quantitative.
    • Integrating Eastern and Western traditions, philosophies, sciences and approaches.
    • Recognises that there are many ways of knowing, and that no one way is dominant.
  • 52. WILBER’S FOUR QUADRANTS Interior Exterior Collective Individual Intentional “I” Upper Left Behavioural “It” Upper Right Cultural “We” Lower Left Social “Its” Lower Right
  • 53. THE SCARY VERSION OF WILBER
  • 54. FOUR QUADRANTS: INDIVIDUAL Interior Exterior Collective Individual Individual values, beliefs attitudes and meaning Cultural context of the individual, creates shared context Observed Behaviour The collective external world Intentional “I” Behavioural “It” Cultural “We” Social “Its”
  • 55. FOUR QUADRANTS: ORGANISATION Interior Exterior Collective Individual Staff Organisational Culture Organisational Behaviour External Positioning and Relationships
  • 56. FOUR QUADRANTS: SDI Interior Exterior Collective Individual Views of Staff: Focus Groups, Interviews Understanding the Internal Environment: Casual Layered Analysis, Slaughter’s Transformative Cycle, Anthropological approaches Inclusive Planning and Decision Making Processes: Strategic Planning Workshops, Strategic Plans Understanding the External Environment: Scanning, Delphi, SWOT, Scenario Planning etc.
  • 57. FOUR QUADRANTS: SDI Interior Exterior Collective Individual Ken Wilber’s Four Quadrant Model http://www.kenwilber.com Business as Usual Strategy and ‘Fit” Organisational Culture Staff We get rewarded for our performance here, so we spend most time here We don’t get rewarded for how well we think or understand culture, so we don’t spend much time here Visible and measurable Invisible & not measurable
  • 58. UNDERSTANDING YOUR ROLE Interior Exterior Collective Individual Individual values, beliefs attitudes – your perspective and worldview, your meaning Cultural Observed Behaviour External
  • 59. WHY THINK ABOUT THE FUTURE? 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. What we don’t know we don’t know What we know we don’t know What we know
  • 60. Interior Exterior Individual Collective What we don’t know we don’t know What we know we don’t know What we know What we don’t know we don’t know What we know we don’t know What we know What we don’t know we don’t know What we know we don’t know What we know What we don’t know we don’t know What we know we don’t know What we know
  • 61. INTEGRAL FUTURES
    • The future is not just ‘out there’, but ‘in here’ as well.
  • 62. REFLECTION: INTEGRAL FUTURES
    • How is information about staff views of the future collected at your institution?
  • 63. FUTURES IN STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT & IMPLEMENTATION
  • 64. THE HOME OF FUTURES IN SDI Strategic Thinking Generating Options What might happen? Strategic Decision Making Making choices What will we do? Strategic Planning Taking Action How will we do it? Options Decisions Action Futures Approaches and Methods
  • 65. GENERIC FORESIGHT MODEL Inputs Strategy Outputs Analysis Interpretation “ what might we need to do?” “ what will we do?” “ how will we do it?” “ what’s really happening?” “ what seems to be happening?” things happening Foresight Copyright © 2000 Joseph Voros “ what might happen?” Prospection
  • 66. FUTURES AND SDI What will we do? What might we need to do? What’s happening? Strategic Thinking Generating Options What might happen? Options Strategic Decision Making Making choices What will we do? Decisions Foresight Strategic Planning Taking Action How will we do it? Action How will we do it? What’s really happening? What might happen? What seems to be happening?
  • 67. FUTURES AND SDI Analysis What seems to be happening? Input What’s happening? Interpretation What’s really happening? Prospection What might happen? Gathering Categorising Contextualising Sense Making Innovation Right hand quadrants Left hand quadrants
  • 68. FUTURES AND SDI: INPUT
    • Focus on past, present and future. Collect qualitative and quantitative information.
    • Delphi
      • Genius based – sampling of expert opinions, reducing divergence over a series of surveys (Japan’s futures program does this well)
    • Environmental Scanning
      • Voros - 4Q/11L scanning – taking into account both the worldview of the scanner and the worldviews of the users of the information. Integrating spiral dynamics into the equation. Aims to merge upper left and lower right quadrant activity.
      • Choo (1998) – different levels: competitor intelligence, competitive intelligence, business intelligence, environmental scanning, social scanning (at level of country)
    Input Information Gathering
  • 69. FUTURES AND SDI: ANALYSIS Analysis What seems to be happening? Categorising Forecasting – extrapolates trends out, useful for short-term work. Cross Impact Analysis – how trends interact and impact on each other. Trend Analysis – data over time, underpinned by assumptions about how data is behaving – those assumptions condition what we see in the data. Emerging Issues Analysis – looks earlier in the trend cycle to identify issues before they emerge in the mainstream. Moving beyond quantitative data focus. Current approaches at this level are largely quantitative in nature.
  • 70. FUTURES AND SDI: ANALYSIS Emerging Issues Trends Mainstream Time Number of cases; degree of public awareness Scientists, artists, radicals, mystics Newspapers, magazines, websites, journals Government Institutions Few cases, local focus Global, multiple dispersed cases, trends and megatrends Adapted from the work of Graham Molitor, Wendy Schultz and Everett Rogers Innovators Early adopters Late Adopters Late Majority Laggards Today Look on the fringe (weird and whacky!) Worldview issues will affect uptake at this stage – “I don’t believe that!” Future
  • 71. FUTURES AND SDI: INTERPRETATION Interpretation What’s really happening? Contextualising Sense Making Interpreting the analysis for the organisation’s context. Making sense of the data for the organisation. Most strategy work stops at this step . Decisions are made once interpretation has occurred.
  • 72. FUTURES AND SDI: INTERPRETATION Levels of Structure Events Patterns, Trends System Structure News Items Recurring Themes Underlying “Drivers” “ Core” Human Intelligences Mental Models Thinking Systems Mindsets, Worldviews, Metaphors, Myths Copyright © 2001 Joseph Voros
  • 73. FUTURES AND SDI: INTERPRETATION
    • What’s really happening?????
    • Aim to challenge categories of analysis in the previous step – what does it mean?
    • There are layers of reality, and layers of depth – how deeply do we want to go in interpretation? What is appropriate for my organisation?
  • 74. FUTURES AND SDI: INTERPRETATION
    • Macrohistory – cycles of large scale change over time; how social systems change; grand unifying principles are sought.
    • Causal Layered Analysis (Sohail Inayatullah):
      • Litany
      • Social causes
      • Worldview
      • Myth/metaphor
    • How do you challenge the prevailing worldview and assumptions underpinning it? What will your organisation be comfortable with?
    Particularly good for digging deep to find those valued assumptions
  • 75. FUTURES AND SDI: PROSPECTION Prospection What might happen? Innovation Focus on the future. Deriving a broader range of strategy options from the analysis: what options are available to us in the long-term? What might be the impact of those options in the long-term? What will influence those options? What are potential obstacles? Scenarios, visioning, futures workshops.
  • 76. FUTURES AND SDI: PROSPECTION Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Scenario 3 Inductive Scenario 1 Scenario 2 Scenario 3 Scenario 4 Deductive Official Future Alternative scenario Incremental Vision Normative Adapted from Ged Davis, Scenarios as aTool for the 21 st Century, Shell International, 2002
  • 77. GENERIC FORESIGHT MODEL @ VU Inputs Strategy Outputs Analysis Interpretation BROADER STRATEGIC OPTIONS DECISIONS IMPLEMENTATION CAUSAL LAYERED ANALYSIS TREND/EMERGING ISSUES ANALYSIS ENVIRONMENTAL SCANNING Foresight Copyright © 2000 Joseph Voros SCENARIO PLANNING Prospection
  • 78. REFLECTION: FUTURES AND SDI
    • What methods would you use to establish strategy processes underpinned by futures input at your institution?
  • 79. FUTURES: BUILDING A STRATEGIC FORESIGHT CAPACITY
  • 80. BUILDING A STRATEGIC FORESIGHT CAPACITY
    • Foresight : an often unconscious individual capacity to think about the future.
    • Strategic Foresight : an organisational foresight capacity.
    • Foresight is the capacity to  think systematically about the future to inform today's decision making. It is a capacity that we need to develop as individuals, as organisations, and as a society.
  • 81. BUILDING A STRATEGIC FORESIGHT CAPACITY
    • Planning happens only after a decision has been made – you plan how you will implement the decision and keep track of achieving your goal.
    • A decision is made only after some strategic thinking has taken place.
      • How do you think strategically? How does an organisation ‘think’ strategically?
      • Can only the executive of an organisation think strategically?
  • 82. BUILDING A STRATEGIC FORESIGHT CAPACITY
    • Strategic thinking is about systematically and routinely :
      • using a wide range of information and data from the past and the present, including that held by individuals,
      • using that information and data to consider a range of alternative and plausible scenarios about what might happen in the future,
      • thinking about how the organisation might respond in terms of risks and opportunities if those scenarios came true – Van der Heijden’s ‘strategic conversations’, and
      • making decisions based on the enhanced understanding that results.
  • 83. BUILDING A STRATEGIC FORESIGHT CAPACITY
    • Without explorations of what the future might hold, strategic planning as we know it today creates a default scenario:
      • A future that validates the plan, and this view of the future dominates … decision making (Hodgson, 2004).
    • This is sometimes called the ‘ official ’ future - the one that’s written in our vision and mission statements.
    • Not thinking about the future risks depending on a business-as-usual approach, or the ‘official’ future (also known as “ let’s bet the farm cos I know best ” sometimes espoused by some Vice-Chancellors ).
  • 84. BUILDING A STRATEGIC FORESIGHT CAPACITY
    • Strategic thinking involves exploring:
      • Lower Left and Lower Right Quadrant factors in the internal and external environment that are critical uncertainties for the organisation , and recognises their interconnections and interdependencies, and
      • Upper Left Quadrant hopes, dreams and images of the future held by individuals in the organisation.
    • Successful strategy development deals with both - because, ultimately, people implement or undermine strategy .
  • 85. BUILDING A STRATEGIC FORESIGHT CAPACITY
    • There will be many, many competing images of the future. Only when those images are articulated can the possibility of a shared view of the future – and a shared strategy - begin to emerge.
    • You need overt organisational processes to be able to articulate images of the future.
    • Because images reside in the Upper Left Quadrant, you need processes that engage people as individuals.
  • 86. BUILDING A STRATEGIC FORESIGHT CAPACITY
    • All individuals have the capacity for foresight – we use that capacity every day.
    • The aim is to move that individual capacity to a shared, organisational capacity.
  • 87. BUILDING A STRATEGIC FORESIGHT CAPACITY
    • Individual foresight is:
      • unconscious
      • implicit
      • solitary
    • Strategic Foresight is:
      • conscious
      • explicit
      • collective
    Individuals recognise and build their foresight capacity Individuals begin to talk about and use futures approaches in their work Individual capacities generate organisational capacity (through structures & processes) Adapted from the work of Joseph Voros and Richard Slaughter
  • 88. BUILDING A STRATEGIC FORESIGHT CAPACITY
    • Generates a challenge: strategic foresight takes time to develop because:
      • we are dealing with how people think,
      • we are asking people to question their thinking and to surface the assumptions upon which their thinking is based – this is often scary and uncomfortable.
  • 89. BUILDING A STRATEGIC FORESIGHT CAPACITY
    • And, in today’s ‘business’ environment, it is easy to dismiss the need to think about the future.
      • “ I am too busy dealing with the here and now to think about the future” (University Council member).
      • “ I think about the future every day, and it’s an insult that you are here to teach me how to think” (Deputy Vice-Chancellor).
      • “ I don’t get paid to think about the future, I get paid to produce results” (Corporate Director).
  • 90. BUILDING A STRATEGIC FORESIGHT CAPACITY
    • In our jobs, we are rewarded not for thinking about the future, but for results in the present.
    • We are rewarded for certainty in the present, not uncertainty about the future.
    • We can speak confidently about the past and the present (or seem like we are), but it is difficult to speak confidently about the future.
  • 91. BUILDING A STRATEGIC FORESIGHT CAPACITY
    • But, strategy is about the future.
    • Thinking about the future is thinking about uncertainty.
    • How do we incorporate thinking about uncertainty, and hence, thinking about the future, into our decision making processes?
    • How do we demonstrate the value of taking time out in the present to consider long term issues to inform decision making today?
  • 92. BUILDING A STRATEGIC FORESIGHT CAPACITY Past Present Future 2007 1927 2027 Strategy Decisions We start in the present, wanting to make strategy for the future.
  • 93. BUILDING A STRATEGIC FORESIGHT CAPACITY Past Present Future 2007 With the power of strategic hindsight, we add in the past, and focus on trends over time, maybe taking those trends a few years into the future. 1927 2027 Strategic Hindsight Strategy Decisions
  • 94. BUILDING A STRATEGIC FORESIGHT CAPACITY Past Present Future 2007 1927 2027 Strategic Hindsight Strategic Foresight Strategy Decisions To enhance your future strategy and make wiser decisions, you need to use the power of strategic foresight to explore the future – just as you explore the past and the present.
  • 95. REFLECTION: BUILDING A STRATEGIC FORESIGHT CAPACITY
    • How will you convince whoever needs to be convinced of the value of strategic thinking using a futures approach?
  • 96. BUT, THIS WOULDN’T WORK IN MY INSTITUTION … OR WOULD IT? LESSONS FROM PRACTICE
  • 97. LESSONS FROM PRACTICE
    • Language
    • Maintaining Support at the Top
    • Organisational Positioning
    • Organisational Context and Politics
    • Thinking is Work Too
    • People
    • Implementation
    • Worldviews and Assumptions – the ‘glazed eye’ syndrome
    • Knowledge
  • 98. LESSONS FROM PRACTICE
    • Language
      • Get used to crystal ball jokes
      • Choose terms that will be understood
      • Develop clear and unequivocal messages about what you are doing, and why you are doing it
      • Stay strong!
  • 99. LESSONS FROM PRACTICE
    • Maintaining Support at the Top
      • Obvious, but critical
      • Need to ensure futures work is not dependent on an individual
      • Need a CEO who will support you and follow through
      • Not only CEO, but executive group
        • in my experience, it is this group that has the real influence on the degree to which futures work is accepted
  • 100. LESSONS FROM PRACTICE
    • Organisational Positioning
      • Setting up an organisational futures program is different to using futures approaches in your work.
      • At organisational level, needs clear mandate and support. The Viable Systems Model (VSM) is useful here.
      • In your work, will depend on your job and your boss!
  • 101. LESSONS FROM PRACTICE
    • Organisational Context and Politics
      • This is the one I misread badly.
      • Who needs to be involved?
      • Who can derail your work?
      • Futures work competes with the power of people’s egos and personal positionings, animosities and ambitions. You need to understand these.
  • 102. LESSONS FROM PRACTICE
    • Thinking is Work Too
      • Convincing people to take time out to participate in futures work will be difficult.
      • How many of you have commented along the lines of … “if only I had time to think?”
      • And, how many think planning workshops and retreats are usually a waste of time?
      • We need to schedule in time to think.
      • We need to start viewing thinking as work too.
  • 103. LESSONS FROM PRACTICE
    • People
      • People doing futures work need established credibility and goodwill, because this work will strain working relationships:
        • ‘ you were well respected when you worked in the teaching divisions, but once you started this foresight work, things went downhill’ (said a DVC to me)
      • While you need to maintain support at the top, you will probably find that people at the ‘grass roots’ are more open to futures.
        • Feedback to my work suggests they like and see value in the prospective stage in particular (scenarios and creating futures)
  • 104. LESSONS FROM PRACTICE
    • Implementation
      • Conceptual framework
      • Strong methodology
      • Clear project plan – purpose and structure, roles and responsibilities
      • Communication strategy – explain why there is value
      • Differentiate between content and process
      • If we are to find out what staff think about the future, we need to let them tell us, not present them with pre-packaged views of where the university should be going.
      • Long term – this will take time.
  • 105. LESSONS FROM PRACTICE
    • Worldviews
      • Watch out for the ‘glazed eye syndrome’ (you are hitting a strong worldview when this happens).
      • Challenging deeply held assumptions is critical but very, very difficult.
      • Watch out for your own worldview – develop a strong, reflective understanding of how you see the world – what you look for, and what you miss altogether.
  • 106. LESSONS FROM PRACTICE
    • Knowledge
      • Need to have a firm grounding in the futures field and concepts.
      • Reading a book is not enough (and deluded!)
      • If you are serious about this work, get a qualification in it, or use a futures consultant who specialises in knowledge transfer as part of the deal.
  • 107. LESSONS FROM PRACTICE
    • Doing futures work is both challenging and very hard work, but it will also be some of the most rewarding and exciting work you have ever done.
    • It will change the way you think, and it will change the way you see the world.
  • 108. CLOSE
  • 109. STRATEGIC PLANNING REVISITED: SOME KEY MESSAGES
    • Terminology: SDI
    • Three steps (thinking, deciding, doing)
    • Responsibility for future generations
    • Past, present and future
    • Integral approach – consider both inner and outer worlds/perspectives
    • Understand your worldview and accept the worldviews of others
    • Generic foresight model (input, analysis, interpretation, prospection)
    • Strategic thinking and strategic foresight
    • Any others?
  • 110. REFLECTION: BACK TO WORK
    • Consider … what messages will you take back to your institution about this session?
      • Nothing? That’s okay 
    • How will you describe this session to colleagues who did not attend?
  • 111. BACK TO WORK
    • You are but one person in your institution.
    • You are very busy. You often feel overwhelmed (“the heat of an ever increasing workload and pressure to do even more”, Scharmer 2005).
    • Where can you make a difference? Because you can.
    • But you will be at the cutting edge in strategy development…and sometimes that hurts!
  • 112. BACK TO WORK Andy Hines, An Audit for Organizational Futurists: 10 Questions Every Organizational Futurist Should be Able to Answer, 2003 PITCH MESSAGE HERE Have good organisational diagnostics: can smell the cheese, but will jump ship. Get it, and can use the system – very rare. Don’t bother – they are waiting for you to fail! They will follow you blindly – just like lemmings!
  • 113. LAST WORD … ALMOST
    • “… using futures thinking and tools improves our decision-making and our lives, on a personal, organizational, community/social and global level”, but changing an entire organisation “requires an enlightened CEO and upper management that sees the need for this thinking. This unfortunately remains the small minority of situations.”
    • (Hines, 2002)
  • 114. LAST WORD … REALLY
    • “ The near term future can be clearly understood by developing the right capacities , asking the right questions and nurturing the right people . The careful use of such resources provides organisational access to an evolving structural overview of the next couple of decades … Organisations that participate effectively in this process will find a range of valuable outcomes: they will seldom be overtaken by change , they will not succumb to crisis management, they will find it easy to avoid problems and seize opportunities , they will develop long term vision and a kind of forward looking prescience … strategic foresight can supply a coherent forward view that will be a cornerstone of organisational success in the 21 st century.”
    • (Slaughter, 2004)
  • 115. Questions? More information: http://www.thinkingfutures.net [email_address] Tel: 03 90169506 Skype: mkconway1