Three insights on foresight

I very much enjoyed facilitating an on-line conversation of foresight managers from four companies with global reach earlier this week. It would be impossible to do justice to everything that was said, but three new insights for me were:

1.      How we measure success: A. Did we get it right? We will never be able to predict the future. But we can still ask: did our foresight (when looking back at it, a few years later) capture the key uncertainties that then played out? B. Did we have an impact on decisions? No matter how good we are at A., if our work does not lead to better decisions, we have failed.

2.      Our role is also education and learning: We have long known that by having others participate in the foresight work makes them more likely to want to listen to the results. One company takes this further: it uses student-employees to also give a different view on the future and expects that by the time the issues they think about come about, those students will themselves be the managers in the company and hence will have a head-start!

3.      Sustainability is key to our future: No doubt about that, but the growing realisation in companies that the politics of ecological sustainability is going to drive many changes means that foresight becomes an even more important bridge to help companies find their way from here to a green future.

In any case thanks to François de Jouvenel, Marie Ségur and Martina Kampmann for making the event happen!

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