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What Is Strategic Foresight and How to Use It to Stay Competitive

What Is Strategic Foresight and How to Use It to Stay Competitive
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Strategic foresight is relatively a new concept in businesses and public organizations. However, it has already been associated with the military and politics long back. 

In times of rapid change and uncertainty, strategic foresight is more important than you know. Think of everything you’ve experienced in the past few years. A pandemic, remote work, loss, grief, uncertainty, social/ political unrest, and more. 

While the events do seem to be out of control, it is possible to be strategic and navigate through the uncertainty with confidence. This article will teach you how to do it.

What is Strategic Foresight?

Strategic foresight is a business practice that involves collecting and processing information to anticipate the future and prepare for change. This information is often about the developments and trends that happen in social, economic, technological, legal, and political environments. 

Why is Strategic Foresight Important?

As we live in a world where rapid change occurs, using strategic foresight can be extremely beneficial. Without it, businesses may have good knowledge of the short-term and general long-term trends in their industry. But to gain a better understanding of the long-term trends, they need to use strategic foresight.

Anything that happens on one side of the world will impact the other. A startup that was just established today can compete tomorrow with a top-tier company. This means that the future is uncertain, and not being prepared will only make it worse for organizations. But thankfully, strategic foresight has come to the rescue.

How to Use Strategic Foresight to Stay Ahead in the Competition?

Here are 5 strategic foresight methodologies you can use to stay on top of the game. 

1. Emerging and Trending Issue Analysis

Emerging issues are events that won’t fit into existing patterns. However, they may develop into new ones. Trends analysis is mostly related to collecting information, spotting patterns, and how to deal with them.

2. Horizon Scanning

In horizon scanning, you can identify the early signs of development through a systematic collection of information. You may also use it to determine the new or emerging trends that can be used later in different scenarios. 

3. The Delphi Method

This activity is quite structured and relies on a team of experts. The experts together argue on different aspects and answer the questionnaires. It is usually done in rounds, where in the final round, a final answer will be chosen.

4. Forecast/ Prediction

In forecasting, it is more or less about estimating future events with uncertain outcomes. For instance, predicting the number of floods that may occur in a certain area over time. However, the estimation or prediction here needs to be precise. 

5. Weak Signals and Wild Cards

In the context of strategic foresight, the low-probability but high-impact events are often considered wild cards. They are also cited as “black swans” despite sometimes being positive. On the other hand, weak signals are the events that create a lower impact. Their observation links small developments to potential emerging issues or current trend changes.

The strategic foresight methods discussed here can be incorporated into a part of your company-wide programs to help your organization become future-proof. Companies that understand the importance of foresight methods have already incorporated them into their strategy and are successful today. 

Try including one or more of these methods yearly to stay competitive. But for the foresight program to truly become successful, you’ll have to include more than one method in your strategy. 

About the author

Samita Nayak

Samita Nayak is a content writer working at Anteriad. She writes about business, technology, HR, marketing, cryptocurrency, and sales. When not writing, she can usually be found reading a book, watching movies, or spending far too much time with her Golden Retriever.