5 Benefits of Foresight

5 Benefits of Systematic Foresight Activity

And Why We Need It

August 27, 2018, Bruno Jacobsen, Irmeli Hirvensalo

We've already covered here what Strategic Foresight is and why it matters. But below, we take it a step further. Why it is actual critical for organizations, especially today, and what outcomes you can expect from systematic foresight activity.


5 Benefits of Systematic Foresight Activity


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Why Foresight Activity is Critical for Organizations

Of course, there are several reasons why foresight activity matters to organizations, as we've discussed. But it is especially critical for two reasons above others.


First, the current pace of change. Change in technologies, service models, the natural environment, and entire societies is so rapid that it's hard to keep up. And, despite that, organizations still need to pull together and spend time on making sense of these developments.


And that task - making sense of those rapid changes - is not easy, but it's necessary. Without it, planning a company's operations becomes a game of chance. While we can never be sure of what the future brings, developing different scenarios is important. And foresight activity is a key ingredient in in this complexity pie, as we look out for changes in the world.


Second, there is a vast amount of information pertaining to the future. On instinct, this initially sounds like something that does not need fixing. But it becomes less so when we realize that much of it - rather, most of it - is unstructured and disconnected. Hence, merely bringing some order and structure to this chaos already adds significant value.


That order and structure are best achieved by using professional foresight methods. By working from a structured knowledge base, achieved through systematic foresight, organizations are able to greatly improve the odds of successful outcomes. But what exactly are these outcomes?


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5 Benefits of Foresight Activity

Because of the challenges mentioned above, and many others, foresight has become more than just an academic discipline. Today, foresight operations have been (and are now being) established in large enterprises, consulting firms, and public organizations around the world.


However, foresight leaders still often find it challenging to clearly communicate the soft and hard benefits that an investment in an organizational foresight capability brings, especially when budget constraints are tight. But foresight is not just an added bonus in good times, it's a matter of survival at all times.


Hence, here are some of the typical outcomes brought about by systematic foresight activities in organizations:


1) Increased organizational awareness of future trends and phenomena that are relevant for the organization’s future success;


2) Holistic and contextualized mapping of key future developments (“foresight radars”): Making sense of the otherwise random themes in the context of one’s own organization and mapping the developments into a logically structured picture;


3) Early warnings: Continuous horizon scanning to alert the orgnization about opportunities and threats that are relevant in the organization’s context;


4) Future-proof plans and decisions: Future-oriented deep dives into specific topics to ensure strategic plans and investment decisions are aligned with future changes;


5) Thought leadership: Having educated views of the future developments puts the organization in a natural thought leader’s position.


So these are 5 of the many benefits brought about by systematic foresight activity. It can not only help organizations understand and prepare for the future (improving their chances of success), but also place them in a position of thought leadership. That position, in turn, brings many other benefits - it can be used not only as an excellent marketing proposition, but it also opens the door to deep conversations with their customers and stakeholders, enabling organizations to masterfully navigate their environments.


Benefits of Foresight
5 Benefits and Outcomes of Foresight













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