Tool Spotlight – Futures Wheels: Reimagined!

Futures Wheels are simple. In the center of the tool is the issue to be explored, surrounded by a series of concentric circles that increase in time further away from the subject. The exercise begins with identifying immediate consequences that result from the initial issue. Each ring that follows is further out in time and includes consequences of the ones before, like ripples from a pebble in a lake.

Tool Spotlight – Level Up Your Scanning

What Can Crime Investigations Teach Us About Futures Intelligence? What does hunting for a killer have in common with hunting for signals? I’m so glad you asked! If you’ve watched any crime dramas or murder mystery flicks then you know the fearless detective always ends up standing in front of an evidence board, meticulously stretching yarn across push pins, noting connections between seemingly unrelated data points. https://vimeo.com/870049103/a0e8e8c1d0?share=copy With images, notes, and headlines connected with string or yarn, these visual collages…

Creating Stories of Change: Reframing Causal Layered Analysis as Narrative Transformation

The Importance of Story in Organizations and Society The early 21st Century has been characterized as a time of great global change, reframing the way that we connect, create, and consume. This profound shift in human development is not only a catalyst for the destruction of our antiquated industrial systems, but is also facilitating the emergence of new models of transformation.

Scenario Development in the 21st Century

We have increasingly focused on the quantifiable world over the past 100 years as a means to growth and progress. Organizations have become obsessed with numbers and the warm, fuzzy feeling they give us when they neatly add up to demonstrate that the future looks bright. In reality, life has always been a mixture of what we might call “quantified and qualified metrics.” Today’s world is now forcing us to recognize the importance of qualitative measurements by virtue of its…

“Can you teach me thermodynamics in 20 minutes?”

overcoming short attention spans in foresight integration Having worked in corporate America for 15 years before joining the foresight, innovation , and strategic design firm Kedge and co-founding The Futures School, I know firsthand the challenges of integrating futures thinking in all types of organizations. For-profit entities like The Walt Disney Company (where I was charged with spearheading the first division in the company’s history focused on the future) are built with a bias toward short termism, but they are…

How Long Does the Future Last? The Lifecycle of Futures Intelligence

Environmental scanning is the lifeblood of Strategic Foresight. You can be a futurist and never make a single scenario, but you can’t be a futurist if you never scan. Scanning helps us to rewire our brains and supports our pattern and sensemaking skills. After weeks of scanning, it’s time to merge research into something tangible. A collection of scan hits and occurrences unveils that something larger is emerging– a trend! Trends deserve names and solid descriptions that include several examples…

Redefining Value for 2023

An excerpt from the Guide to the Natural Foresight® Framework According to a recent study, organizations that intentionally plan for the future outperform their peers in terms of profitability and overall valuation (Rohrbeck & Kum, 2018). The result seems intuitive to most, yet “just one in five companies strategically prepares itself for future movements in the market – and just one in 20 companies adjusts its course of action accordingly” (“Corporate Foresight Improves”, 2018, par. 3). The future moves faster…

Don’t Confuse Forecasting with Foresight

In a world that is enamored with short-term actions, incremental innovation, and quantifying everything, it’s important to understand that “forecasting” and “foresight” are not the same thing. They may have the future in common, but that does not make them equals. Forecasting uses quantitative data and trends in an attempt to fill in gaps and extrapolate outcomes. However, data by its very nature is a snapshot of the past (just as trends are the present – you know about them…