Five steps to help develop your “foresight muscles”
Develop a range of possible, probable futures based on how these trends may unfold. This is highly unlikely to be a direct extrapolation from the past.. . Add a wild card future, caused by a highly improbable event. The Fukushima disaster happened not because they hadn’t done any disaster planning, but because they hadn’t thought through the effect of three catastrophes happening at the same time. That was just considered too unlikely, so no plans were made. Wild cards help you exercise for really ‘far out’ events. Make sure you have both negative and positive futures to consider, so that you have plans for each case.
Identify how you would know that one of the futures you imagined was actually emerging (“early indicators”). If you work backwards from the future scenarios you’ve developed, you will start to see how each could happen and therefore what you need to watch out for as an indicator that it is about to happen (your early indicators), as the present and future become merged.
Each of the futures you developed needs a plan. If this future emerged, what would you do to take advantage of the situation? What would you need to stop doing? What risks would you need to mitigate? How can you innovate?
Search out emerging trends and keep your eyes open for new things from sites like Flipboard or Apple News which you can configure to feed you news of interest. Or, you can use a tool like Factr which you can configure to mine information of interest from chosen information suppliers online. Once you’ve got the information, consider which of these trends might disrupt your business? How might different trends combine and what kind of disruption would that create? What advantages could you develop? What risks might need to be mitigated? This must be an ongoing activity
In step 3) you identified early indicators. Now you need to actively monitor for these signs that a particular future is unfolding. When you notice this, you can execute the appropriate plan for that future. This will give you the best opportunity to thrive and endure.