Strategic Foresight Development Services
The purpose of strategic planning
A business strategy is all about the future. Strategy formulation involves making decisions today and taking into account different strategic directions that could be taken in the future. Future events and conditions present both business opportunities and risks, but often appear disguised as trends, emerging issues, and weak signals (collectively called environmental indicators) within the competitive (i.e. industry-related) and contextual (i.e. political, geopolitical, socio-economic, legal and technology) environments of the business.
These environmental indicators could originate from a business’ own industry (or other industries) and from the political, geopolitical, economic, social, or physical environments. New technology has also a disruptive influence on any business. Most important are the unexpected trends, which originate from other industries, but cut across all industries, and which are usually a blind spot for most businesses. These blind spots are then further amplified by the convergence of different trends, making it extremely difficult for a business – without proper environmental scanning, forecasting and scenario planning – to map its future strategy.
Futura International, in association with other research partners, can assist you to ascertain how favourable the competitive and contextual environments of a specific country are for your business. Our services consist of:
Initial research with the aim to identify new business opportunities and risks (i.e. environmental scanning) inside a country. The objective is to identify trends, emerging issues, and weak signals in the following areas:
- Contextual environment (i.e. the political, geopolitical, socio-economic, legal and technology landscapes).
- Competitive (industry) environment (including the competitor, market, consumer, and commercial landscapes).
- Internal organisational environment.
Foresight and strategic thinking
Environmental indicator analysis and forecasting, with advanced data analytics, including:
- Cross-industry and cross-impact analysis of trends, emerging issues, and weak signals (these analyses tend to resonate with the question: “what seems to be happening?”).
- The analysis of the deep, structural forces behind identified trends, emerging issues, and weak signals, including: macro patterns in change, systemic causes, weight of history (“legacy baggage”) and pushes of the present, cultural / social causes (myths and metaphors, resulting in systemic issues and trends, emerging issues and weak signals). This analysis tends to resonate with the question “what’s really happening?”
Scenario planning, based on output from the environmental indicator analysis and forecasting phase, is about exploring different options and to inform the business strategy process:
- Normative scenarios: create your ideal future / business vision by managing the future from the present with back-casting methods (normative scenarios tend to resonate with the question: “what might we need / want to do?”).
- Explorative scenarios: exploring different and possible future events and their potential impact on your business’ normative vision (explorative scenarios tend to ask the question “what might happen?”).
Strategic development and action
Strategy development is about making decisions and setting directions, based on the scenario planning results:
- A synthesis of explorative and normative scenarios is developed (as explorative scenarios will always impact on the desired future or normative vision / scenario).
- Based on the scenario synthesis, particular goals or objectives are set (this resonate with the question “what will we do?”).
Strategic planning is about breaking down goals or objectives into steps and actions, including business model adjustment, and the articulation of the anticipated consequences or results of each step (strategic planning asks the question “how will we do it?”).
How we can assist
Short term assignments typically exclude in-depth environmental scanning exercises and environmental indicator analysis / forecasting. We normally rely then on a client’s institutional knowledge regarding industry-related trends and emerging issues (instead of performing our own research). From a contextual perspective we would provide general background information on the political, geopolitical, social, economic, and physical environments as well as on technology trends, relevant to your business.
Futura International can assist with short term scenario planning workshops to synthesize previously identified trends and emerging issues with normative and / or explorative scenarios.
Workshops could range from one to five days.
Long term assignments (i.e. in-depth research and strategic foresight development)
These in-depth research assignments cover the whole range of our services, from the research phase to the foresight and strategic thinking phase to the strategic development and action phase.
Although Futura International can assist by covering this whole range of strategic services, we are still flexible in our approach and can tailor our methodology to include only those services needed by your company.
Long term assignments could range from more than one week to several months.