Paul presented to The CEO Institute Syndicate 53 on how to incorporate foresight as a capability for strategy

The main points were:

For a top down strategy:

  1. Build multiple pictures of what the future might look like, including ones that look unlikely.
  2. If your strategy in most or all of those future pictures is the same then implement your strategy.
  3. If your strategy would be different in different futures then ask the following questions:
  • If this future came true what would I do?
  • If this future came true when would I do it?
  • If this future came true how would I know when when is?

Then extract the signposts of change that will help you understand what futures might be emerging.

Create a structured review process for both what might be emerging and your strategy and put that into formal reporting and meeting structures.

Also consider organisational design structures that allow thinking about the future to be done at the edges of your organisation and strategy to emerge rather than be directed – e.g. The Haier Model

Only spend as much time on foresight as is practical. Too much and you are ignoring execution. Too little and you might be blindsided by a future you have not thought about.

Audience responses:

  • Really good topic for the group to think about future thinking, often get caught in the day to day operations or single year planning,
  • Really liked our speaker today, I would have happily listened for longer as I feel he had plenty more stories to tell,
  • Great presentation and topic today,
  • Paul’s presentation was great, lots of useful ideas and insights
  • Key takeaway for me was the Wardley Mapping model, I am keen to have a go at this,
  • Great subject,
  • Thought provoking particularly as we approach our strategy day,
  • Great presentation and I loved the examples shared,
  • Some key take-outs on long term thinking approach to risks, very well presented,
  • Very smart person!
  • thanks for an enlightening session this morning., I hope we can do it again with another of my syndicates later this year.

You can access the presentation at:

Foresight for Practical Strategy

As always our presentations are designed to add value to the discussion in the room so if you want a run through of what this might look like for your organisation please contact us