Welcome to the webinar: we’ll be starting shortly What is Strategic Foresight and why we should care about it What is strategic foresight? And why we should care about it Maree Conway Thinking Futures June 2013 About Thinking Futures ….building strategic foresight capacity in organisations to use the future in strategy development today Overview What is strategic foresight? Individual foresight and strategic foresight Strategic foresight environments - building your organisation’s strategic foresight capacity Why we should care about strategic foresight Practical implications Seeing what’s coming to be able to respond proactively to change is a search for nirvana* for many organisations. *freedom from pain and worry Future proofing = right answers = linear future = certainty = comfort = business as usual Strategic foresight = many possible answers = many possible futures = accepting uncertainty = looking for divergent thinking to challenge assumptions = futures ready There are no future facts. www.mup.com.au Change Ecosystem And this is a common reaction when people are asked to deal with that ecosystem. You might look at trends that you can see (short term) without digging deeper to understand the implications of the powerful forces of change that are shaping those trends over time (long term). What you get then is a snapshot of your organisation’s world – which will change in some way almost immediately. Understanding the future is a journey not a destination. Making sense of that change is often overwhelming though, and it takes time – the one thing that is in short supply in organisations today. Understanding the future takes time – it’s a thinking process that can’t be automated. We succumb to the busyness syndrome: being too busy with the short term to think systematically about the long term. Understanding the future is work too. So whether you mean to or not you ignore the future in our planning and end up here… …with this look on your faces when the future hits you unawares. The goal: futures ready strategy Strategy that is flexible enough to allow an organisation to be agile in its response to future change. This is only possible if you spend time exploring and anticipating what the future might bring to your organisation’s door. Not the goal: prediction The aim is not to get the future right, but to avoid getting it wrong. Enter strategic foresight… What is strategic foresight? Your definitions? What is strategic foresight? The ability to take a forward view and use the insights gained in organisationally useful ways today. Richard Slaughter, Foresight International http://www.foresightinternational.com.au What is strategic foresight? A way of thinking about the future, beyond the conventional, that helps your organisation develop futures ready strategy. Futures ready strategy is agile strategy, flexible enough to deal with whatever challenges and opportunities the future brings. It supports resilience and adaptive capacity development for people in organisations. At its base then, strategic foresight is about understanding and responding to changes in the external environment of your organisation proactively. Individual and Strategic Foresight Individual Organisational Unconscious Conscious Implicit Explicit Solitary Collective Adapted from work by Joseph Voros Alternative Futures Preposterous! “impossible!” “won’t ever happen!” Time Possible Future Knowledge “might happen” Now Potential Plausible Current Knowledge “could happen” The ‘Projected’ Future The ‘default’ extrapolated ‘business as usual’ future Probable Current Trends “likely to happen” Potential Everything beyond the present moment Preferable Value Judgements “want to happen” “should happen” Adapted from work by Joseph Voros Strategic Foresight Environments Building your organisation’s strategic foresight capacity Increasing use of foresight approaches Individual Foresight Capacity Values/Beliefs Individuals in Action in Organisations Training Critical Mass of Foresight Trained Staff Strategic Foresight Capacity New models embedded Interior You wanted to know more about the link between strategic foresight and integral approaches. Individual Consciousness and Thinking Capacities Exterior Strategic Foresight Processes to promote conversations and capacity building Individual A core factor is that for strategic foresight to be successful in your organisation, change must occur to the same degree in all four quadrants. Collective Building a futures ready culture – the future matters to you Understanding where your organisation fits into the external environment and how that environment is changing http://kenwilber.com Strategic Foresight Environments? Defined ‘spaces’ in your organisation’s strategy processes consisting of two things: Resources: curated and crowdsourced information about change in your organisation’s external operating environment, sourced from a diverse number of internal and external sources within and beyond your industry, and focused on what is likely to shape your organisation’s potential futures. Activities: connected and collaborative processes for building strategy, involving informed staff and stakeholders, and focused on building capacity to think strategically across the organisation. “what is happening out there?” Inputs Interpretation Prospection Outputs Foresight Analysis “what seems to be happening?” “what’s really happening?” “what might happen?” “what might we need to do?” Copyright © 2000 Joseph Voros Strategy “what will we do?” “how will we do it?” http://thinkbig-lab.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/picture-26.jpg Foresight is a thinking capability… Confirmation bias Status-Quo bias Seek people & sites who agree with us; discount opposing views to counter discomfort Making choices to ensure things stay the same, or change as little as possible; change will make things worse In group bias Negativity bias Overestimate capacity of our groups at expense of those we don’t know We pay more attention to bad news – we think it’s more important or profound Gambler’s fallacy Bandwagon effect (Abilene Effect) Put too much weight on previous events as predictors of future events Going with the flow of the crowd; Groupthink, hive mentality Post purchase rationalisation Projection bias Convincing yourself a crappy decision was a great idea all along – avoiding discomfort Assuming everyone thinks just like me – and so they agree with me Neglecting probability Current moment bias Observational selection bias We have a hard time imaging ourselves in the future and alter thinking/behaviour accordingly – comfort now, pain later Assumptions about peril and risk (eg risk of dying in planes and cars) Suddenly seeing things we didn’t see before (eg pregnant women, your new car) Anchoring bias Compare and contrast a limited number of items (why we need to scan big, deep and long) http://io9.com/5974468/the-most-common-cognitive-biases-that-prevent-you-from-being-rational Pattern Recognition "Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabridge Uinvervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the litteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a ttoal mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is besauae ocne we laren how to raed we bgien to aargnre the lteerts in our mnid to see waht we epxcet to see. The huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but preecsievs the wrod as a wlohe. We do tihs ucnsoniuscoly wuithot tuhoght." Things are sometimes not what they seem http://www.michaelbach.de/ot/col_lilacChaser/index.html Foresight is not necessarily about changing the way you think, but using your thinking capacity in different ways, to challenge the pattern recognition process. The purpose of this is to identify new things – trends, emerging signals of change – that your habitual brain may have been missing. If you don’t try and override your brain, you won’t see anything differently. Strategic Foresight and Influence One of the things you wanted to know more about - getting more conservative, realistic colleagues to embrace strategic foresight - using strategic foresight to influence the organisation You can’t make anyone accept or embrace strategic foresight – unfortunately! Because strategic foresight is a thinking capacity, the people you want to influence have to be open to the idea of challenging their brain’s pattern recognition processes – this is uncomfortable and scary, and often generates defensive behaviour. Have good organisational diagnostics: can smell the cheese, but will jump ship. Get it, and can use the system – very rare. Don’t bother – they are waiting for you to fail! They will follow you blindly – just like lemmings! Andy Hines, An Audit for Organizational Futurists: 10 Questions Every Organizational Futurist Should be Able to Answer, 2003 Why we should care about strategic foresight The Inescapable Dilemma “All our knowledge is about the past, but all our decisions are about the future.” (Ian Wilson) Why we need strategic foresight The world is changing rapidly. The civilizational challenge (Richard Slaughter) – exhaustion of the Western worldview and its industrial ecology which, though superseded, remains strong. Most organisations develop strategy on the basis of the past, and taken for granted assumptions about doing business today. Strategic foresight can identify future competitive space – the future contains novel and unconventional possibilities. Why we need strategic foresight The use of futures methods enhances anticipatory consciousness, which in turn improves…foresight, thus making it possible to act faster or earlier, and making the organisation or individual more effective in dealing with change. The ability to anticipate gives extra time to better understand threats and opportunities, develop more creative strategies, create new product opportunities, and create and share vision for organisational change. Giaoutzi and Sapio, Recent Developments in Foresight Methodologies, 2013, page 4 Why we need strategic foresight For organisations, the future is the strategic destination. That destination represents viability and hope. The shape of the future depends on our actions and our leadership today. Being a good ancestor today both personally and organisationally – what you put into the stream that flows to the future will have an impact. Moving beyond short term thinking patterns and biases that now shape how we respond to change. Understanding that every decision we make about action to take today is based on some assumption about the future – those assumptions need to be explicit. Why we need strategic foresight Sohail Inayatullah (http://metafuture.org) The future is not an empty space – it is an active aspect of the present. It is an asset and resource to be used wisely. If we don’t transform how we think about the future, we will move to the used future (today taken into the future). Human agency matters. You wanted to know more about linking strategic foresight to sustainability and for me they are closely linked. They both share a common starting point: the future matters. Responsibility for future generations is a common value (being a good ancestor today). Collaborative development of solutions is a common operating style. Both accept that the future of the human race is inextricably linked to the future of the planet. Both explore the big picture, and identify ways for individuals to change their behaviour today. Practical Implications Today Future Foresight is an inherently provocative activity & usually intrigues and/or annoys people, by for example: crossing discipline boundaries & bounded thinking critiquing the status quo questioning fundamental assumptions challenging worldviews contesting deeply held images of the future Provocation is necessary for revitalisation of thinking processes. From Joseph Voros, 2013 Download Building Strategic Futures Guides: Getting Started with Futures Environmental Scanning Strategic Thinking (almost there!) http://thinkingfutures.net/resources/building-strategic-futures-guides/ Contact Details Maree Conway http://thinkingfutures.net http://thinkingfutures.net firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +61 (3) 9016 9506 Mobile: +61 (0) 425 770 181 Skype: mkconway1 All photos from fotolia.com unless otherwise stated Please complete the satisfaction survey for me and thank you for attending!