How foresight tools can transform your company's future

ARTICLES | Feb 07, 2022
How foresight tools can transform your company's future

In an era when the world is changing fast, businesses must be flexible and adapt for their long-term survival.

“Corporate Foresight” is a vital tool to learn new things. Organizations that use this approach can increase profit margins by 30% and market capitalization by 200% compared with other organizations. Italian futurologist Maurizio Catino suggests we start from our and our organization’s knowledge about the future to pick techniques from 4 groups:

- Forecasting can be used when the organization has high management knowledge. This method is often popular because it saves resources and time in looking at changing trends.

-Analogical reasoning is suitable when the organization lacks knowledge to manage an obvious development. Discussion encourages brainstorming to see norms, values, and aspects that may be overlooked. The end result is often new strategies or restructuring in response to goals.

- Contingency planning reduces risks with an unclear future. Teams often use this method to plan for emergencies such as natural disasters.

- Scenario-based learning is extremely useful for an unpredictable future when the organization lacks knowledge to cope such as new technology or sudden political change. It can help to see new images or concepts that have never existed before to help find comprehensive responses for situations with high uncertainty.

Understanding the future often relies on strategic knowledge that allows one to see what might happen and how to adjust. The techniques differ with the limitations of the situation inside and outside the organization. This advice can guide organizations in choosing the right foresight tool to adjust their business plans under various constraints.

Implications for the future:

- Amid rapid change organizations that use traditional forecasting methods based only on statistical data, or a sole method of understanding change, are likely to lose out to organizations that use a variety of forecasting tools.

- Future literacy skills will become indispensable aids in organizational survival in both the short and long term.

- Forecasting the future must look at and capture signals in many dimensions such as society, economics, politics, technology to clearly form a medium- to long-term strategy and help the organization prepare.

Credit: Catino, Maurizio (2013) Organizational myopia problems of rationality and foresight in organizations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Rohrbeck, René. & Kum, Menes Etingue (2018) Corporate foresight and its impact on firm performance: A longitudinal analysis. Technological forecasting & social change. [Online] 129105–116.

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