A Possible Futures Studies Process

Identify Participants for Futures Process
  • Current and future stakeholders
  • Sources of specialist information
  • Power-holders and key decision makers
  • Potential allies, opponents and blockers
Analyse the Forces Shaping the Future
  • Social, technical, economic, environmental, and political forces affecting the organisation and its stakeholders and its markets – now and into the future
  • The way in which the organisation currently engages with its environment and with the future and manages its “journey” into the future
Identify Architecture of the Future
  • Emerging issues and trends
  • Possible surprises, wildcards
  • Organisational processes (planning, decision-making, performance management, incentives and rewards, change management, etc)
Draft the Scenario Outlines
  • Prepare “dot point” scenarios using the major dimensions of uncertainty identified in previous step
  • Rate the scenarios for likelihood, potential impact, business attractiveness and potential for learning
Flesh Out Selected Scenarios
  • Scenarios identified as having maximum relevance to the organisation and maximum benefit in stimulating strategic thinking about the future are elaborated using all available information (including informed, creative imagination)
“Wind-tunnel” the Selected Scenarios
  • Stakeholder representatives assess the likely implications for them and their organisations of each of the selected scenarios
  • Managers of the various parts of the organisation assess the likely implications for them and the units they represent of each of the selected scenarios: e.g. business impacts; staff impacts; environmental impacts; societal impacts; resource implications of adapting to each scenario
Planning for the Future
  • Monitoring for early warning signals in the external environment indicating which scenario is unfolding
  • Managing short/medium term issues and changes
  • Preparing longer term business development strategy (including identifying potential new products and services; and changes in demand for existing products/services)
  • Preparing organisational development strategy (encompassing technology; corporate culture and competitiveness as employer; organisation structure and stakeholder relationships; etc)
Implementing Strategy for Growing Organisational Agility
  • Enhancing organisational readiness to become a highly agile organisation (i.e. one that can adapt and prosper in different futures) – removing fear and creating incentives to change
  • Starting the journey
  • Building momentum and commitment - celebrating early “wins”
  • Sustaining the process of future-proofing the organisation
Monitoring and Refining the Futures Process
  • Monitoring the impact of the futures process on the quality of strategic thinking, decision making, and timeliness in seizing opportunities and dealing with potential threats
  • Modifying the futures process, to maximise the organisation’s foresight, agility and success.

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