Thinking About the Future: Guidelines for Strategic Foresight
An Executive Forum Synopsis
Presentation by Andy Hines
Synopsis by Rod Cox

Even the best run companies get into trouble by not paying attention to the future. The American auto industry – by basing profitability on a production lineup of large, low MPG vehicles at a time when fuel prices are skyrocketing – is a case in point, as is the Australian sheep industry in an age of synthetics, the current home mortgage industry, Social Security, the EPA, and the film-based photography industry, all caught up short because what has worked before does not work today. Hines argues that these scenarios are avoidable. “A holistic, long-term perspective combined with actionable business solutions helps companies mitigate risk, make the most of opportunities, and enrich decision-making.”

Hines breaks the process into six involvements that leaders and organizations must do to get a “click” on the future:

  • Framing: identifying the problems clearly and understanding their cost as well as the cost of solutions
  • Scanning: understanding what’s going on out there; the relevant information and trends
  • Forecasting: considering a range of future possibilities; plugging into a meaningful view (pictures) of the future
  • Visioning: deciding what the organization wants to be in the future and determining if the organization is working forward or avoiding it
  • Planning: creating a pathway to the future
  • Acting: translating foresight into real action on an ongoing basis

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