Strategic foresight

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Strategic foresight is often defined as strategic anticipation. Strategic Foresight is in brief terms the prediction and evaluation of future events over a long or medium term. After this management can create strategies to avoid dangers and seize opportunities in the future. Foresight is often used as a source of diagnoses of major social and economic problems over time and as a tool for forecasting and decision-making both by the government, business and the public sphere institutions.

Today Foresight is a process strongly associated with the policy of technical and scientific innovation of the country. This process has a significant influence on the shaping and implementation of the policy of the state. Sometimes foresight as well as its results are used as a means of cultural development in society in terms of thinking about the future. Focusing the discussion representatives of public authorities, industry, NGOs, research organizations, and society Foresight is becoming one of the main tools for planning the future. Through panel discussions, workshops targeted, Delphi method, scenario development and seminars information on the new development trends is provided. The essence of foresight is to identify alternative development paths, and not only that which results from the extrapolation of current trends and conditions.

States can choose strategic directions of research and technology development aimed at the largest economic and social benefits in the economy. Participants of the Foresight process determine the directions of research by creating a vision of future goals and achievements.As a result, Foresight is a process that aims to provide opportunities to think about the future of society.

Futuring and Planning

Foresight term distinguishes between two categories. The first is the Futuring. It is the art of identifying and evaluating possible future events. This term is very broad and focused exclusively on the future. Planning however, is the preparation of plans, a set of preliminary decisions about the future. In their structure they may contain the identification of objectives and strategies to achieve them. The main difference between these terms is that Planning is focused on making immediate decisions about the future actions. Futuring focuses on the future and the meaning of the possible objectives and strategies.

Strategic foresight methods

Strategic Foresight Usability

Foresight is playing an increasingly larger role in today's society, and science policy. The use of foresight increases the probability of selecting an appropriate course of action. The usefulness of the process can be validated using multiple arguments. Thanks to the program it is possible to predict the development of emerging technologies that are usually not taken into account in computer modelling. Policy makers can take fuller account about the impact of the events on society, environment and economy.Another fact in favour of Foresight is that it minimizes the subjective evaluation by listening to a large, diverse group of experts from across different fields of science and practice. Ultimately, Foresight is a useful tool in decision making and choosing preferred support mechanisms for science, technical and innovative policy of state. Used in the narrowest possible range offers desired, accurate information about the chosen area.

Examples of Strategic foresight

  • Businesses often use foresight as a tool to evaluate their current strategies, anticipate disruptive events such as new competitors or new technologies and adjust their strategies accordingly. For example, Amazon is constantly using foresight to adjust its business model and anticipate changes in customer needs and preferences.
  • Governments often use foresight to anticipate social and economic changes in their countries and create policies that maximize their countries’ potential. For example, the Chinese government has used foresight to develop long-term strategies for the country’s economic growth.
  • Companies and organizations also use foresight to anticipate potential risks and develop strategies to mitigate them. For example, a company may use foresight to anticipate the potential for a natural disaster and create a plan to protect its employees and operations.
  • Foresight can also be used to anticipate technological changes and develop strategies to take advantage of them. For example, some companies are using foresight to anticipate changes in the technology landscape and use them to their advantage by developing new products or services.
  • Finally, foresight can be used to anticipate changes in public opinion and create strategies to influence them. For example, companies may use foresight to anticipate changes in public opinion and create campaigns to influence them in their favor.

Advantages of Strategic foresight

One of the main advantages of strategic foresight is the ability to anticipate and plan for the future. This can be extremely beneficial for companies, governments, and other organizations, as it allows them to create strategies that can help them to avoid potential risks and capitalize on beneficial opportunities. Here are some of the key advantages of strategic foresight:

  • It enables organizations to anticipate future changes in the environment and plan strategies to respond to those changes. By staying ahead of the curve, organizations can gain a competitive edge and take advantage of anticipated opportunities.
  • Strategic foresight helps organizations address potential problems before they become real issues. By predicting challenges, organizations can plan ahead and develop strategies to overcome them.
  • Strategic foresight also allows organizations to identify potential trends and develop strategies to capitalize on them. By understanding the direction of the market, organizations can create products and services that anticipate the needs of their customers.
  • Finally, strategic foresight can help organizations become more agile and responsive to changes in the environment. By staying abreast of emerging trends and anticipating future changes, organizations can remain competitive and adapt quickly to new challenges.

Limitations of Strategic foresight

  • Lack of data: Strategic foresight relies heavily on data to make accurate predictions. Without reliable data, the accuracy of any prediction is questionable as it is only as good as the data it is based on.
  • Uncertainties: There is always a certain degree of uncertainty associated with any prediction. Even with the best data, it is impossible to predict the future with 100% accuracy.
  • Technological Change: Technology is constantly evolving and advancing, and this can have a dramatic effect on the accuracy of strategic foresight predictions. New technologies can emerge that change the landscape in unexpected ways.
  • Human Factors: People are unpredictable, and this can make it difficult to accurately predict the future. Humans are also prone to making irrational decisions, which can lead to unexpected outcomes.
  • Overconfidence: It is easy to become over-confident in one's predictions, and this can lead to poor decision-making. Even the best predictions can be wrong, so it is important to remain humble and open-minded when making strategic foresight predictions.

Other approaches related to Strategic foresight

  • Scenario Planning: Scenario planning is a tool used to develop alternative futures and understand how external forces may impact one’s strategy. It is a process of creating stories about the future, based on assumptions about how the world works and how it might evolve.
  • Trend Analysis: Trend Analysis is used to identify potential future opportunities and threats. It involves identifying existing trends and predicting which ones will continue and/or change over time.
  • Futures Wheel: The Futures Wheel is a tool used to explore and visualize different aspects of the environment and their implications for the future. It is used to identify trends and forces that could shape the future and then brainstorm possible responses to them.
  • backcasting: Backcasting is a tool used to develop a strategy to achieve a desired future state. It involves defining a desired future outcome, identifying the steps required to achieve it, and then working backwards to identify what needs to be done today to make that future a reality.
  • Strategic Mapping: Strategic mapping is a tool used to visualize the external landscape and identify potential opportunities and threats. It involves mapping out the external environment and analyzing the relationships between different elements to identify patterns and trends.

In summary, Strategic Foresight is a tool used to anticipate potential future risks and opportunities. Other approaches related to strategic foresight include Scenario Planning, Trend Analysis, Futures Wheel, Backcasting and Strategic Mapping. These tools are used to identify trends and forces that could shape the future and then develop strategies to address them.

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