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Sense, Mesh, and Transform: The Natural Foresight® Mindsets

To drive value in an ever-changing world of increasing chaos, complexity and contradictions, we must adopt new ways of thinking that will guide our actions for breakthroughs.

The Natural Foresight® framework behavioral competencies include three mindsets that are necessary to harness and leverage this world of complexity: sensing, meshing, and transformation. The following is an excerpt from our recently published work, “The Guide to the Natural Foresight® Framework.” Download your copy here.

SENSING Mindset: Transcend Trends, Pick Up on Patterns

Trends in quantifiable technology, social algorithms, and big data are exploding, but it is those who hone the mindset of sense-making and pattern recognition who will truly be able to understand and leverage the world that is emerging around them. It is actually the quantum speed at which these trends and ideas are unfolding that is making the human-centric quality of holistic sense-making a critical leadership mindset. This way of thinking is not only crucial for looking beneath the surface of the fast and furious change, but also allows us to envision the outcomes of the natural convergence of trends and issues so that we can truly “get ahead of the future.” Further, this mindset is vital for successfully navigating through the Complex Adaptive Systems that serve as the basis of the Natural Foresight® framework. Without human-centric sense-making, we will completely miss the qualitative forces that make up these complex pathways of change. 

MESHING Mindset: Break Silos, Surface Sweet Spots

In this new era, we must “un-silo” disciplines and practices to foster the emergence of unique ideas and actions. This is the skill of intentionally creating the “spaces-in-between.” As it turns out, the silos between disciplines have actually created many of our greatest problems and challenges, and the ability to explore the sweet spots between ideas and practices allows us to “dance with complexity,” purposely embracing, harnessing and leveraging the new landscape in order to create unseen organizational models, strategies, innovations, experiences, and services. We often frame the mindset of meshing as the ability to think in “simultaneous multiples,” envisioning the expanding landscape of possible futures. This behavioral domain aligns with the growing field of Complex Responsive Processes in that it provides a way of thinking that embraces interaction and convergence that results in new patterns of perception, interpretation, and novelty that did not previously exist. 

TRANSFORMATION Mindset: Annihilate Iteration, Build Breakthroughs

An increasingly complex world demands that we must move beyond incremental innovation into transformational thinking and invention. We often call this “creative destruction on steroids,” noting that this mindset is about much more than being controversial or provocative for the sake of disrupting traditional systems and models; it’s about moving away from short-term thinking to long-term vision. In this environment of volatile change, leaders must be willing to “embrace the unknown” – the ability to go beyond the familiar confines of the known or existing universe, and explore the unknown and not-yet imagined ideas. The mindset of transformation is also reflected in the concept of Complex Potential States in that it allows for the inclusion of causal elements outside of a main area of focus. This approach to leveraging complexity as a way to intentionally produce creative advancement is much deeper and broader than many modern-day interpretations, and empowers practitioners to get past recursive or dominant narratives to achieve “constructivist foresight.”