3 Foresight Methods Organisations Can Utilise to Navigate Post-Election Uncertainties
With versatile use cases, foresight tools can help organisations figure out what the US election outcome means for their operational environment and what they can do to prepare.
December 1, 2020, Gökce Sandal
The uncertainties surrounding the US elections have led to increased volatility, urging organisations in various industries to reassess their operations in the face of potential policy and regulatory shifts. Foresight methodologies offer various collaborative and interactive tools that can help organisations make sense of the key changes, manage risks and discover new opportunities.
While the US election outcome will undoubtedly have significant impacts across industries, it may be difficult for organisations to understand what exactly it may mean for their operations and strategies. Depending on location, industry, organisational structures and many other variables, the uncertainties will naturally play out differently in different contexts. In this article, we break down how organisations can utilise foresight tools to reduce uncertainty and future-proof their strategies in the dawn of a new presidential era.
Check out Futures Platform’s “Trends Affected by the US Elections” interactive foresight radar to view 50+ cross-industry phenomena placed in a visual context and start modifying the radar to fit your organisation’s perspective.
REASSESS YOUR OPERATIONAL ENVIRONMENT WITH TREND ANALYSIS
Developments with large impacts such as the US elections can potentially change the future direction of trends. They can, for example, accelerate the growth of an emerging weak signal and bring it into the mainstream much earlier than expected, or, alternatively, they can also reduce the impact of strengthening trends and make them less plausible.
As a methodology, trends analysis focuses on understanding trends and analysing their potential impacts from various perspectives. Thus, one of the first things organisations can do post-election is to reassess the trends and weak signals that have already been on their radar prior to the election and consider how the election outcome may impact their future trajectory.
Identifying the sub-trends that are related to the key trends in one’s operational environment and anticipating their possible collisions can also expand the scope of their analysis and provide a rich picture of how things may develop.
For instance, with the social unrest caused by the elections and the pandemic, a recent PwC survey reveals that the trends related to mental wellbeing and inclusive leadership has intensified in the post-election climate, and many respondents reported allocating more resources to employee mental wellbeing and nurturing tolerance at the workplace.
CONSTRUCT ALTERNATIVE FUTURE SCENARIOS TO EXPLORE UNCERTAINTY
Once the relevant trends and key uncertainties are identified and examined in the trend analysis stage, scenario building can help organisations map out how these trends may play out under different circumstances.
While a full-fledged scenario planning with multiple in-depth narratives can take a considerable amount of time, scenario building can also be easily fit to different occasions, and mini-scenarios can be constructed on the fly to analyse alternative future trajectories quickly.
In the case of the US election results, there are many uncertainties, particularly from legislation and global policy perspectives, such as the future of world trade, international tax regulations and space laws, that can be explored further with scenario-making.
One of the scenario-planning tools that can be particularly fit to the post-election context is the Axes of Uncertainty, where organisations can create a 2x2 matrix to examine how different variants involved in uncertainties can unfold in the future.
For instance, the key uncertainties surrounding international tax can be explored further with Axes of Uncertainty, as the US election outcome is expected to shape the course of international talks over digital taxation. With the digital transformation accelerated by the pandemic across industries, the OECD describes this uncertainty as a “million-dollar question” that could wipe as much as 1% of the global growth every year.
ANALYSE INTERCONNECTIONS AND PATH DEPENDENCIES WITH FUTURES TABLE
Futures table is another systematic scenario-making tool that helps one construct more complex scenarios that provide a more in-depth analysis of path dependencies. Thus, it is particularly suitable for cases such as the US elections where there are multiple interconnected variants.
With this tool, organisations can examine several phenomena that are influential in their operational environment and analyse the path dependencies between them by constructing different paths on how the interconnections between these phenomena may play out in the future.
Futures table is a versatile tool that can be fitted to many purposes. It can be beneficial in, for example, assessing policy shifts and regulatory risks, reconfiguring business models, analysing growth prospects, or finding product-market fit amid an environment of change.
Following the US elections, organisations can utilise Futures Table to prepare for potential changes in investments and supply chains in the case of a global economic downturn, or to find new ways to generate demand in the pandemic-induced acceleration of the digital economy.
Start a free trial of Futures Platform’s digital foresight solution to get a head start in your trend analysis and strategy work following the US elections. With a trusted, futurist-created database of 700+ future trends and collaborative tools for scenario-making, you can speed up your foresight efforts and easily collaborate with remote teams and stakeholders.
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