Strategic Foresight isn’t about prediction. It is a process that explores possibilities and looks for options. Foresight helps us imagine many possible ways things could be different in the future, so we can better understand how to act in the present. It’s a rigorous methodology for exploring signals of change and identifying the forces that are shaping our futures. Exploring these forces of change enables us to create transformative scenarios—evocative stories that inspire people to think creatively and divergently about how the future might unfold.
Why Practice Strategic Foresight?
Through this work, we’re able to create road maps of emerging futures—futures we can nurture, invest in, challenge, and co-create. Scenarios also provide us with a framework through which to wind-tunnel (i.e. test for performance) current strategies based on how those strategies would play out in each of the emerging futures. Strategies that perform well across multiple different futures help us increase our readiness and achieve our goals in the face of uncertain conditions.
Strategic Foresight isn’t about predicting the future. The ‘future’ doesn’t exist—it is constantly being shaped, reshaped and defined. Foresight interacts with images and ideas about the future using tools and methods that help us in our present state.
~Jim Dator, Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies
Overlap’s Foresight Workshops
Overlap can deliver a foresight workshop series that helps your team broader horizons and explore potential futures. Our workshops typically include:
- Exploring Trends & Drivers—These activities encourage participants to interact with trends that might shape alternate futures, and to consider some of the underlying drivers that are causing these trends to emerge.
- Critical Uncertainties—When exploring possible futures, we want to focus on the changes that might have the greatest impact on our organization. To do so, we map driving forces according to which ones feel the most critical—how important and relevant it is to our work and our frame—and which ones feel the most uncertain—how unclear it is what the impact will be.
- Scenario Development—We imagine multiple possible futures by using the groundwork laid out by the trends, drivers and critical uncertainties. Participants work in groups to think about alternate future scenarios using a STEEP-V framework (Social, Technological, Economic, Ecological, Political and Values).
- Strategic Implications—We explore how each of the different futures would affect the organization and what they might mean for our actions today. In light of the possibilities, we also consider actions we can take today to create the future we want.
Ryan Voisin Director, Innovation Programs
Ryan is the Director of Innovation Programs at Overlap. He designs and delivers programming for organizations to increase their capacity for innovation, facilitating conversations between organizations and their key stakeholders to understand and design for diverse perspectives. Get to know Ryan, see some of his work and engage with his ideas here.