Using Foresight To Break Out Of Future Business Opportunity Paralysis

Where do executive insights come from?

Board and non-board executives are increasingly realizing that insights, forecasts and strategies for a workable future in our digital age cannot be delegated to staff functions nor external management consultants.

Understanding signals of the future and how to balance incremental and disruptive strategies to remain in business long term are vital skills for any executive to lead with trust towards a future where digital as term evaporates and becomes business as usual.

Many executives seem overwhelmed by trends and assumptions about the future of their industry and find that their industry is being redefined as they are watching from the sideline. They become hesitant to initiate new experiments and might struggle to communicate the vision aligned with customers’ expectations.

So, where do insights come from? How can executives use foresight to get the insights they need to feel more confident in kicking off experiments and supporting action plans in this VUCA world?

The Institute for the Future in Palo Alto, California, strongly advocates a methodology involving the collection of signals, forecasting short term and long term scenarios and revealing unexpected possibilities upon targeting preferred futures and initiating experiments and actions. This suggests that executives need to fence time for foresight as an integral part of their business commitments. Executives need to immerse themselves in opportunities and implement routines for identifying and learning more about signals to stay relevant in their positions.

My colleague Liselotte Hägertz Engstam and I are frequently collecting digital maturity assessments of executives to help them advance as leaders in the digital age. We will share a series of articles to address this challenge more in detail over the next months.

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