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Research Foresights: The Use of Strategic Foresight Methods for Ideation and Portfolio Management


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OVERVIEW: Previous investigations of organizations adding breakthrough innovation capacity to already strong incremental innovation engines have shown that it can be a challenge to see past the time horizon for incremental innovation in order to set robust objectives for longer-range research teams. This article reports on a program that employed a customized process that incorporated several strategic foresight methods commonly used by futurists to influence the strategic research agenda at PepsiCo.
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26 | Research-Technology Management • March—April 2012
One of the challenges in starting new teams for breakthrough
or radical innovation is the need to see beyond the business-
unit time horizon to identify robust innovation challenges
that will be relevant when the required technical solutions
have been delivered. Fundamentally, the time required for
meeting the challenges presented by breakthrough technical
innovation often exceeds a company’s time horizon for un-
derstanding consumer and customer desires. Foresight meth-
ods, which are commonly used by futurists to explore distinct
alternative views of the future, can help bridge that gap.
Since 2008, PepsiCo has been exploring how foresight
methods can be used to infl uence a company’s research port-
folio, offering a complementary approach to common port-
folio management methods. In that year, the company
formed two new research departments to pursue break-
through innovations in the areas of ingredients, processing,
and packaging for its global food and beverage businesses.
These two new departments, PepsiCo Advanced Research
(PAR) and Long Term Research (LTR), partnered with And-
Space Consulting to lead a yearlong program that used fore-
sight methods to identify technical opportunities that would
impact longer-range research agendas. This Research Fore-
sights Initiative was designed to help researchers address a
range of challenges commonly faced by long-term innova-
tion programs inside large corporations, identifi ed in previ-
ous research by the Industrial Research Institute and others
( Leifer et al. 2000 ; O’Connor et al. 2008 ). These include:
Learning about markets that don’t yet exist,
Finding breakthrough ideas,
Transitioning innovation to operations,
Embedding a portfolio orientation in project manage-
ment for breakthrough innovation,
Allowing for reciprocal infl uence between innovation
and strategy, and
Avoiding a stop-and-start approach to breakthrough in-
novation efforts.
The initiative clearly demonstrated that foresight methods
can facilitate a productive approach to these challenges. Sev-
eral components contributed to its success. At the design stage,
Ted Farrington is senior director, PepsiCo Advanced Research, working in
the food-processing area. He has worked for several consumer products
companies and been active in IRI for many years, having cosponsored sev-
eral IRI Research-on-Research initiatives in the area of breakthrough innova-
tion. Ted holds BS and MS degrees in math and physics from Clarkson
University, an MS in chemical engineering from Caltech, and a PhD in chem-
ical engineering from the University of Maine.
Keith Henson is senior director, PepsiCo Advanced Research, leading the
food-processing area. Prior to this assignment, he worked in research and
development for the Frito-Lay division of PepsiCo for over 25 years. Keith
holds a BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Texas–Austin.
Christian Crews is the principal of AndSpace Consulting; he has many years
of experience in foresight both as a consultant and as the leader of corpo-
rate foresight at Pitney Bowes and other large organizations. He has an MS
in studies of the future from the University of Houston–Clear Lake and a BA
in English from the College of William and Mary. He is a founding member
of the Association of Professional Futurists.
DOI: 10.5437/08956308X5502023
Research Foresights
The Use of Strategic Foresight Methods for Ideation and Portfolio
PepsiCo Advanced Research used a customized process that incorporated strategic foresight methods to infl uence the com-
pany’s strategic research agenda.
Ted Farrington , Keith Henson , and Christian Crews
OVERVIEW: Previous investigations of organizations adding breakthrough innovation capacity to already strong incremen-
tal innovation engines have shown that it can be a challenge to see past the time horizon for incremental innovation in
order to set robust objectives for longer-range research teams. This article reports on a program that employed a customized
process that incorporated several strategic foresight methods commonly used by futurists to infl uence the strategic research
agenda at PepsiCo.
KEYWORDS: Inductive scenarios , Technology forecasting , Foresight tools , Portfolio management
Research Foresights March—April 2012 | 27
appropriate foresight methods were chosen based on the
outcomes required by the organization. These methods were
combined into a process that moved the management team
from their existing beliefs about the future toward a new un-
derstanding. Workshops at each stage engaged leaders and
spawned champions for the content and for the initiative it-
self. Finally, the foresight results were explicitly linked to the
goals of the research organization and incorporated into the
company’s regular planning exercise.
Project Commissioning and Design
To better understand how foresight methods might help
address some of the challenges to longer-term research
efforts, PAR and LTR partnered to commission a comprehen-
sive white paper by AndSpace Consulting that reviewed
foresight methods. This led to an executive workshop with
leaders from research, marketing, and sales disciplines in
attendance. Participants learned about selected methods;
applying those methods, they then generated an initial
understanding of future market developments that were
of interest both to the research units and to the broader
operational side of the company. Most importantly, the
workshop emphasized that foresight methods were not
stand-alone tools, but were best utilized as part of an
ongoing, iterative process of learning about the future
( Hines and Bishop 2007 ). PAR and LTR identifi ed spon-
sors and a six-person working team and commissioned
the Research Foresights Initiative to test a foresight process
and survey some of the tools available. The team defi ned
as their goal the development of “compelling perspec-
tives based on future possibilities 5 to 10 years in the
future that results in potential new product spaces and
business models and identifi es the technical breakthroughs
required to enable these opportunities.” The working team
represented direct reports of the sponsors as well as a mix
of younger researchers. A larger project team that incor-
porated a broader sampling of the research groups and
other areas of the company was engaged for workshops
and included in less frequent communications. Working
team members analyzed the results of each phase and
participated in all workshops.
A critical component of success for foresight projects is
that outcomes must be tied to the business’s strategic intent
and value-creation model ( Van der Heijden 2005 ). This al-
lows leaders across the company to engage with the results
and immediately begin using them for decision making.
With this in mind, the working team developed a set of 20
potential focus questions about the external environment
that would deliver content helpful to longer-term research
efforts and the broader organization. The team prioritized
this list based on each question’s strategic importance to
the organization, the potential of the results to infl uence the
research agenda, and the ability to use the results within
PepsiCo beyond research. Project sponsors selected two
focus questions from this prioritized list. The fi rst centered
on the future of consumption; due to the company’s role in
the food and beverage industry, it was important to
understand how consumer consumption behavior might
change over the next decade. The second was concerned
with the future of wellness. Earlier in the year, the CEO of
PepsiCo had announced the formation of the Global Nutri-
tion Group, a new organization within the company charged
with doubling the company’s revenues from healthy snacks
and beverages. Exploring the future of health and wellness
would provide needed insight into this new growth area
of the company.
The Foresight Process
The literature recommends a process approach to foresight
that moves from one method to the next in a logical progres-
sion, rather than pursuing single methods individually ( Hines
and Bishop 2007 ). This avoids many pitfalls in strategic fore-
sight, such as the creation of interesting future scenarios that
management cannot connect to the realities of the business
or innovations based on specifi c trends that fail because they
did not anticipate how those trends might be affected by
other sources of change. A process approach can also prevent
the creation of foresight products that do not challenge the
accepted view of the future. With this in mind, the initiative
adopted a process approach to ensure that the results of the
project could be connected back to today’s business but be
novel enough to create future competitive advantage by en-
gaging company leaders in logical steps that took them from
their current understanding through activities that produced
very different alternative futures.
We cast the steps of foresight research in four simple
phases that could be quickly communicated and understood
in a corporate setting: Discovery, Extrapolation, Integration,
and Planning. The working team then selected for each phase
the specifi c methods best suited to inform the focus questions
( Table 1 ). The deliverables from each phase were designed to
be used as inputs to the next phase of the process: Signals
from the environmental scan became the base for the impli-
cations wheels and focus areas for technology forecasting.
These were then used to form the inductive scenarios and
participatory futures. Finally, insights from those activities
were used in the planning stage.
Engagement was a key concern for this project, especially
in the context of a previous scenario-planning effort that
generated very strong content about the future but was not
widely leveraged inside the research groups. In that project,
an outside consulting rm did an initial set of interviews
then developed the scenarios and returned to present them
We cast the steps of foresight research
in four simple phases that could be
quickly communicated and understood
in a corporate setting.
28 | Research-Technology Management Research Foresights
to the company. This approach did not encourage company
engagement or ownership of the results, despite the high
quality of the nal scenarios. There is a long history of the
need for company leaders and employees to participate in
foresight projects to enable the kind of ownership needed in
this project ( Weisbord a nd J anoff 2000 ; Schwartz 1991 ).
With this in mind, the project was designed to include work-
shops for PAR, LTR, and selected leaders from across the or-
ganization at each stage of the process.
The success of the project depended on the development of
proprietary knowledge about the future that could help the
company capture value by being rst to market. The discov-
ery phase was confi gured to provide information around the
industrywide, known global drivers of change, as well as sur-
face new sources of change that could alter the “offi cial fu-
ture” and create new sources for value creation. The discovery
phase included two activities: the internal futures audit and a
weak signals environmental scan.
Internal Futures Audit. The internal futures audit is a
formal assessment of the company’s current view of the fu-
ture ( Hines 2003 ). What beliefs about the future drive the
company’s current plans and strategy? What does the
company most need to understand about the future to
accomplish its goals? The results are meant to uncover the
company’s “offi cial future,” the commonly held beliefs of
leaders that infl uence decisions ( Ertel and Randall 2005 ). Be-
cause the offi cial future is generally tacit and unexamined, it
is usually out of step with external change and can lead to
decisions that are not aligned with the real-world develop-
ments ( Gonzales 2003 ). The internal futures audit was in-
tended to reveal the major global drivers the company was
facing, as well as gaps in knowledge about the future.
The primary tool of the audit was interviews, which were
conducted with 25 PepsiCo executives from all regions, busi-
nesses, and functions. In addition, over 50 internal reports
were reviewed to establish what the company believes to
be the main drivers of the future. A simple SWOT analysis
was performed using this information to identify possible
opportunities and blind spots for the company. Six key driv-
ers—such as the role of governments in markets, sustainabil-
ity and resource constraints, networked technologies, and
worldwide calorie imbalances—were identifi ed and carried
forward to the next phase. These drivers were summarized in
a formal report, which documented in detail the assumptions
about the future that are driving current decision making.
The output from the audit informed the inductive scenarios
and participatory futures exercises in the integration phase.
Weak Sig nals Env ironmen tal Sca n. The weak signals
environmental scan is an external search for early signals and
precursors of trends that might manifest themselves in the
time frame of interest, in our case 5 to 10 years in the future.
Operationally the environmental scan includes emerging
trends and weak signals not widely agreed to or even identi-
ed in the internal futures audit. These weak signals, which
take time to mature, may become signifi cant sources of
change in the longer-term future.
External fi rms that specialize in this area were used to col-
lect over 300 weak signals of potential future trends in the
areas defi ned by the two strategic questions. These were dis-
tilled down to 40 that the project team felt were relevant to
the company’s future and the focus questions. Some exam-
ples include:
1. The rise of DIY biotechnology. The falling cost of bio-
technology and the proliferation of robust biotechnology
applications are giving food producers and consumers
the ability to conduct sophisticated, targeted genetic
analysis, testing, and even manipulation. Two crowd-
sourced biotech facilities are already in operation, at and .
2. The rise of personalized medicine. Personalized
medicine, which tailors treatment to the needs of specifi c
individuals who may have different lifestyles and per-
sonal preferences as well as different responses to par-
ticular regimens, will be radically accelerated by advances
in genome mapping.
3. The growing understanding of how food infl uences
genetic expression. It is becoming clear that particular
foods may alter how genes are expressed in organisms, in-
cluding humans; as these mechanisms become better un-
derstood, they will profoundly infl uence how people eat.
4. The growing intellectual leadership of BRIC coun-
tries. The infl uence of large developing economies
TABLE 1 . Selected foresight methods by project phase.
Discovery Extrapolation Integration Planning
Internal Futures Audit Implications Wheels Inductive Scenarios Point of View Options
An internal survey of company
management and literature to
uncover the organization’s
“offi cial future” and assess
current foresight activities.
A qualitative, participatory tool
that examines primary,
secondary, and tertiary
impacts of key trends or
weak signals.
A method of combining many
trends to explore how novel
future business environments
may emerge from their complex
A way of managing investments
across a portfolio by assessing the
evolution of trends related to
particular proprietary views of the
Weak Signals Environmental Scan Technology Forecast Participatory Futures
A comprehensive examination of
small changes in the broad external
environment that may become
signifi cant in the future.
A quantitative and qualitative
exploration of likely changes
to key technologies by experts
in relevant fi elds.
The engagement of thousands
of participants in creating and
exploring future environments
via customized online gaming
Research Foresights March—April 2012 | 29
is already being felt in economic and technical arenas.
As they continue to grow, Brazil, Russia, India, and China
will begin to dominate not just economic growth but re-
search in the sciences as well.
The output from the environmental scan informed the impli-
cations wheels and technology forecasting in the extrapola-
tion phase.
Humans have a diffi cult time projecting trends into the fu-
ture. As Ray Kurzweil has pointed out, change (especially
technology change) is exponential, while human brains can
only forecast in a linear fashion ( Kurzweil 2005 ). As a result,
humans are taken by surprise by the impact of trends that at
rst seem small or inconsequential. Also, there are other
ways change occurs that are diffi cult for humans to forecast,
such as the punctuated equilibrium of ideational and genera-
tional change or the cycles of change exhibited in economic
markets. The extrapolation phase seeks to overcome these
cognitive limitations by projecting the current drivers and
weak signals found in the discovery phase into the future
using a variety of different processes. By consciously focusing
on an extrapolation phase, foresight tools augment the natu-
ral human instinct to look ahead, helping the team develop a
more accurate view of change over the planning period. The
PepsiCo working team relied on two foresight tools, implica-
tions wheels and technology forecasting, to accomplish this.
Implications Wheels. Implications wheels are a qualita-
tive tool that offer a straightforward approach to exploring
how particular trends will evolve over time. Typically they
look like mind maps, with a central trend in the center and
primary, secondary, and tertiary future impacts of that trend
radiating outward. Implications wheels are created in a par-
ticipatory process that helps teams examine their assumptions
about how specifi c trends will impact the business environ-
ment and create contrary or non-obvious futures ( Barker
2011 ). PAR, LTR, and selected marketing and strategy person-
nel participated in several workshops in which implications
wheels were used to extrapolate weak signals into the future.
To avoid oversaturating the project with data, implications
wheels were generated for 12 of the 40 priority weak signals
identifi ed in the environmental scan. These 12 were selected
to provide a broad cross-section of impacts that would serve
as optimal inputs to the integration phase ( Figure 1 ).
FIGURE 1 . Implications wheel for DIY biotechnology.
30 | Research-Technology Management Research Foresights
Tec hnol ogy F orecas tin g. To understand how technolo-
gies will evolve in the future, it is critical to combine pure
quantitative models with qualitative information from ex-
perts in their fi elds of study. For this project, the work team
asked external experts and thought leaders in technologies
relevant to two key fi elds of interest—predicting consumers
individual needs and manufacturing to meet individualized
needs—to present forecasts for the coming ve to ten years
in a symposium format. Topics included epigenetics, biomon-
itoring devices, electronic medical records, synthetic biology,
and rapid prototyping. Each expert presented a background
on their topic, the major forces of change, and quantitative
forecasts of how the technology would evolve over the next
ten years. The 50 participants from the company asked pre-
senters about the assumptions behind the models to clarify
their understanding of the drivers of change in each fi eld.
This part of the process highlighted signifi cant future con-
sumer needs and technical gaps required to fulfi ll those
The output from these two exercises directly informed
work in the integration phase of the project. The extrapola-
tion phase combined quantitative and qualitative methods to
develop a more accurate and informed view of possible long-
term evolutions in individual trends related to the two focus
Organizations often move immediately from individual
trends to innovation and strategy formation. Two problems
occur when this happens: First, competitive advantage is not
gained by investments against individual trends because
most are known industrywide, and the entire industry, as
well as new players, are basing decisions on these trends.
Second, emergent change that occurs when trends come to-
gether can radically alter future business environments, and
companies that do not examine these emergent changes will
miss opportunities to create value for customers ahead of the
rest of the market. The integration phase explores how global
drivers of change identifi ed in the internal futures audit and
extrapolated weak signals and technology forecasts might
combine to form several distinct, plausible, yet provocative
views of the future. The inductive scenarios and participatory
futures studies employed in this phase were the largest ac-
tivities in the entire process.
Inductive Scenarios. Inductive scenario planning was
selected as a method because it creates very rich, detailed
future environments for innovation, and the scenarios tend
to be more transformational than incremental ( Curry and
Schultz 2009 ). These qualities fi t the needs of PAR and LTR,
which were chartered to explore technology solutions that
are more high risk/high reward than those pursued by other
parts of the organization. Inductive scenarios are generated
from the bottom up and use systems thinking to explore dif-
ferent ways many trends will interact to create alternative
futures. This is in contrast to the more generally used deduc-
tive scenarios, which are top down in nature. Deductive sce-
narios begin with the top two or three critical uncertainties
and then ll in different scenarios based on how those uncer-
tainties may unfold ( Schwartz 1991 ). They are more appro-
priate for corporate strategy environments where the chief
goal is to delimit the risk space and aid executive decision
making. Inductive scenarios employ systems maps to explore
the collision between global drivers (from the futures audit)
and weak signals (extrapolated from the environmental scan
with implications wheels).
The process begins with the creation of an infl uence dia-
gram that explores these connections ( Figure 2 ). PAR and
LTR members, alongside selected participants from other
parts of the company, produced 24 infl uence diagrams by
connecting elements of the implications wheels to each other
and to impacts of the six global drivers identifi ed in the dis-
covery phase. The consulting team were trained systems
thinkers and combined the 24 diagrams into three large
causal loop diagrams ( Figure 3 ).
1 Another workshop was
held in which participants described the overall dynamics of
the system and then used Donella Meadows’s “Ways to Inter-
vene in a System” method to identify leverage points that
would create positive futures for the company and point to
innovation areas ( Meadows 2008 ). In systems thinking, lever-
age points are points in a system at which small actions can
produce major changes to the system’s behavior ( Senge 1990 ).
The scenarios were then developed using a Hero’s Jour-
ney template ( Vo gler 199 8 ), and graphic recorders visually
rendered the teams’ stories. The working team and the ven-
dor partners then crafted the workshop results into three dis-
tinct scenarios.
The inductive scenarios provided a very fertile and rich
format for exploring new product and business-model op-
portunities. Among many results, the scenario process sur-
faced a compelling need for more customized products and
advanced packaging systems.
Participatory Futures. “Participatory futures” refers to
a relatively new set of tools based on technologies support-
ing massively multiplayer online role-playing games. This
method was chosen for its ability to engage potentially
thousands of people in examining and reacting to forces of
the future ( McGonigal 2011 ). Participatory futures allowed
PepsiCo employees in over 30 countries to participate in an
online game exploring how different trends would come
together in the future and how consumers would react to
The integration phase explores how
global drivers of change might combine
to form several distinct, plausible, yet
provocative views of the future.
1 The consulting team included Christian Crews of AndSpace Consulting,
Wendy Schultz of Infi nite Futures, and Richard Lum of Vision Foresight
Research Foresights March—April 2012 | 31
FIGURE 3 . High-level system map for the scarcity scenario.
FIGURE 2 . Infl uence diagram for the collision of global drivers with the DIY biotechnology signal.
32 | Research-Technology Management Research Foresights
those changes. PepsiCo and the Institute for the Future
(IFTF) collaborated to develop an online game to explore
how people would “Make Every Calorie Count” when
forced to make health and wellness choices in 20 future
vignettes. The vignettes were created by crossing the com-
monly used STEEP categories (Science, Technology, Econ-
omy, Environment, and Political) with the perspectives
gained in previous phases.
Over 1200 PepsiCo employees from 30 countries played
the game over two weeks as teams of 88 persons each. Solu-
tion strategies were proposed, developed, and voted upon as
teams accumulated chips on their game boards. Five chips on
one vignette equaled an “epic win.” Players innovated in the
spaces of packaging, ingredients, product form, and shopping
experience while proposing solution strategies. The results
included insights into how consumers will likely behave in
future situations and identifi ed several product and packag-
ing opportunities for PepsiCo.
The integration phase involved a high number of partici-
pants from across the PepsiCo organization, easing the adop-
tion of the results throughout the wider organization, even
results that were highly contradictory to the current under-
standing of the future within the organization.
Many companies generate strong research into the future of
their industries but fall short in connecting those insights to
investment and strategic action ( De Geus 1997 ). PAR and
LTR were committed to ensuring that the products of the
foresights initiative were included in research planning deci-
sions going forward. The planning phase was designed to
connect research into the future with the innovation portfo-
lio for PepsiCo’s long-term research efforts.
The work team planned for this integration using Point of
View Options Modeling (PoV).
2 PoV is designed to combine
foresight with internal research goals and company strategic
intent to generate a shared understanding of how the future
will unfold and what research areas should be pursued as
events clarify the future. Companies do this to:
Develop a compelling vision of how the company will
create value in a particular future,
Connect the research portfolio to company strategy, and
Review and adjust research investments as external
events and internal research evolve.
PoV statements, the key outputs of the process, combine a
strongly held belief about the future with a description of how
the company could use existing and newly invented capabili-
ties to create value for customers in a unique and differenti-
ated way ahead of competitors. They move the company
from understanding the future to actually making invest-
ment decisions. Assumptions about the future embodied in
the PoV statements will undergo systematic reviews so the
organization can shift resources as the future evolves.
A two-day Open Space innovation workshop was held
to develop opportunity briefs based on the work done in
previous phases. These opportunity briefs combined a per-
ceived future consumer need based on the foresights process
with the technical research needed to serve those needs.
Subsequent workshops for PAR and LTR leaders converted
these opportunity briefs to PoV statements by sifting them
down to rmly held beliefs about the future, and adding
signposts that would indicate whether the likelihood of the
relevant scenario materializing was increasing or decreasing
with time. About 20 PoV statements resulted from this work
and will be considered for addition to the R&D project port-
folio. Because these PoV statements contain assumptions
about the future and signposts to monitor, R&D leadership
will use them to ensure that projects in the portfolio can be
synchronized as they evolve to developments in the external
business environment.
Lessons Learned
PepsiCo’s experience offers some important lessons for other
organizations considering a foresights process. Overall, wide
engagement is the key to success. At an operational level, the
high degree of engagement—by the working team, the
broader project team, and the wider organization—creates
better products and stronger engagement with the results.
Group work, however, can often reduce the amount of con-
tent that is radically different from commonly held assump-
tions. Therefore, it is important for smaller teams to take
group work as inputs and stretch them into deliverables that
refl ect the group’s work, but extend the conclusions beyond
current horizons.
To get broade r en ga gement i n th e fo res ight w ork, w ork-
shops are only a beginning. A high degree of communication
about the project must accompany the work itself. Because a
foresight process is longer than a single method, frequent,
widely distributed updates on the progress of the project are
important. Each method and phase should have an offi cial
document that categorizes the output of that stage and re-
lates it to the broader project and the strategic goals of the
company. Modes of communication should include project
websites, videos, reports, presentations to stakeholders, and
informal conversations.
Like most projects, sponsor support and engagement are
critical to success. Because the foresight process is designed to
surface insights about the future business environment that
are very different than the offi cial future, sponsors need to be
involved at each stage of the process so that their under-
standing of the future evolves gradually over the project.
Otherwise, sponsors may nd themselves at the close of the
process presented with futures that they do not recognize,
2 The PoV tool was developed by AndSpace Consulting and Princeton
Growth Partners; RTM editor-in-chief was a partner in Princeton Growth
Wide engagement is the key to success.
Research Foresights March—April 2012 | 33
making it diffi cult for them to champion more broadly or
make portfolio decisions based on the results.
Engagement with outside resources is also critical. Using
a variety of vendors increases the chances of fi nding unique
and challenging content about the future. To ensure that
the work of vendors contributes to the overall project goal,
it is important to tightly defi ne method deliverables so that
the results contribute to the overall process. Paying atten-
tion to design at the beginning of the process can enable this
integrated approach.
This foresight process was designed specifi cally for the
needs of longer-term innovation groups within PepsiCo.
Other groups within PepsiCo, and other companies, will
have very different foresight needs and risk tolerances, and
will therefore require different methods and approaches to
foresight. It is important to design a foresight process to fi t
your organizational needs.
The Research Foresights Initiative succeeded in proving that
foresight methods could positively impact the challenges of
longer-term R&D functions. The process identifi ed markets
that do not exist now but will be robust in 5 to 10 years, and
it created content about the future that enabled the company
to invest in innovation platforms based on new breakthrough
ideas. The PoV statements have brought a portfolio approach
to the management of these innovation platforms and should
reduce the start-and-stop approach to funding them. The
scenarios have been broadly communicated across the orga-
nization, infl uencing the strategic intent of other businesses
and smoothing the way for future transitions of innovations
to the operations side of the company. These outcomes
should help PAR and LTR meet the challenges of managing
longer-term innovation programs.
The true test of this project will be how iterative the pro-
cess becomes over time. As strong as the foresight work has
been, there is no way to predict the future. Only by continu-
ally testing assumptions about the future can the longer-term
innovation platforms stay calibrated to coming market condi-
tions and new consumer needs and values. The extent to
which day-to-day work and leadership decision making ref-
erences foresight thinking will determine its future success.
However, the depth of analysis and the interactive nature of
the project have established a strong internal capacity for re-
ecting on the conclusions and incorporating new informa-
tion about the future.
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The extent to which day-to-day work
and leadership decision making
references foresight thinking will
determine its future success.
... To assess the novelty of the development, the criteria of prospects, patentability, scientific and technical level, etc. are used. for the production of high-tech products and the substantiation of managerial decisions (Farrington, 2012;Porter, 2011). The Technology Assessment (TA) methodology provides for a combination of technological development monitoring and forward-looking assessments and develops mainly in the direction of social and political choice related to technological development. ...
... In domestic practice, as the author notes (Farrington, 2012), complex forecasts combining different types are mainly used. Technological forecasting varies from the economic and socio-economic uncertainty of the content and characteristics of the object in the future. ...
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The cost-effective functioning of automotive industry enterprises is possible due to the strategic planning of R&D, considering the potential of innovation and commercialization of the created technologies in the entrepreneurial sector of the economy. In this thesis, the approaches for strategic planning of R&D refereeing to usage of patent analysis are discussed as a tool for technology forecasts and the investigation of patent metrics. In this project, Fleet Management Systems (FMS) and various dispatching technologies are considered as potential technological solutions to improve flexibility and to monitor development trends in these technology areas. The methodology consists of a decision support system that ranks specific criteria while managing various kinds of resources in enterprises based on multiple expert evaluations. The implementation of the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) and fuzzy logic can be used to include additional decision variables into the patent retrieval and selection modes. Based on the patent activity of the retrieved patent data, we can predict emerging technologies in the various stages of their lifecycles. Additionally, proposed technical and IP applicants’ analysis for determining current technological trends. Evidence from leads in the development of FMS demonstrates the richness of the methodology for analyzing patent data, respectively. Data-based technologies inventions were examined to establish directions of vehicle fleet using operational research modeling techniques. The thesis describes the methods of modern theory to improve the performance of the fleet managers in conjunction with innovative concepts of fleet management and facilitates the patent retrieval process-related.
... Field research confirmed that technology in foresight is only important if it drives disruption and changes in the market. The role as a disruptor is confirmed in the literature (Farrington et al. 2012, Ruff 2014, Sarpong and Meissner 2018. A case study by Costanzo (2004) confirmed that technology can be a major factor in strategic foresight in the banking industry, mainly if the organisation aims to compete within the stage of early adopters. ...
International Swiss banks are challenged more than ever. The fast-paced global environment forces them to develop new and innovative products, services, and processes to sustain in the long-term. Therefore, strategic foresight is important to understand the organisations’ customers, their evolving needs and changing behaviour, and in turn provides banks with the necessary analysis and knowledge about future customer needs, enabling them to take the right decisions to be prepared for future change. This paper investigates how the incorporation of strategic foresight in international Swiss banks is executed to enhance their innovation activity. Through an in-depth analysis of academic papers and three case studies based on twelve qualitative interviews with management representatives from the financial services industry, a new framework was developed. The framework of “enhanced innovation activity through collaborative foresight activities” is designed as an iterative process consisting of internal and external dimensions. Innovation activity can be enhanced while focusing on setting the right parameters throughout the organisation. The strategic foresight process enables practitioners in collecting the right information about future trends and customer needs, which supports innovative thinking and human involvement. Applying the framework reinforces banks in focusing on the decisive dimensions of the strategic foresight process and enhances innovation activity. Keywords: strategic foresight, innovation management, enhanced innovation activity framework, foresight research, Swiss banks
... The emerging nature of this field means that there is no fully stabilized definition of OF to date (Ehls et al., 2016). Thus, it can take various forms, depending on the degree of openness-crowdsourcing activities, where potentially everyone can participate (e.g., Miemis et al., 2012;Ramos et al., 2012); networked foresight, which refers to the foresight activities in innovation networks (e.g., Heger and Boman, 2015;Van der Duin et al., 2014); collaborative OF, which involves a few participating companies in an interorganizational collaboration (e.g., Gattringer et al., 2017;Heger and Rohrbeck, 2012;Vecchiato and Roveda, 2010;Wiener, 2018); and participatory foresight activities, where various stakeholders are involved in a single corporate foresight project (Farrington et al., 2012;Heger and Rohrbeck, 2012;Schaffers et al., 2011;Weigand et al., 2014). ...
The transformations generated by Industry 4.0 (I4.0) are interwoven with digitalization. I4.0 involves the digital turn of manufacturing companies, changing the way they operate, their business models, and by extension, their interaction with digital players. Nonetheless, the future of I4.0 regarding its interaction with digital players and the phenomenon of uberization has scarcely been examined. Thus, this research adopts a participatory and systemic foresight approach to explore the trajectories of I4.0 in the face of uberization. The study was conducted with a working group of 22 members from academia and practice. Four scenarios and related action plans were produced. The results emphasize that uberization is not necessarily a process to be endured by manufacturers, but it could be chosen or even co-constructed with different actors if manufacturers address key challenges such as rethinking their business models and adapting their factors of production. The scenarios indicate the dynamics of uberization as contingent on technological developments and on industrial policy choices, changes in consumer behavior, and access to multiple funding sources. Finally, the study provides practical implications regarding the dynamics of collaboration between SMEs and large groups, on one hand, and between manufacturing companies and digital players, on the other hand.
... Conceptually, ideas about the contextual environment of organizations (Emery and Trist, 1965), open systems, and the notion of "wicked problems" (Lang and Allen, 2010, pp.49-50) started to inflect management thinking. Rosenzweig also notes that steady growth is harder when the business environment is unstable (2008, pp.147-148). ...
Scenario planning developed as a practice and a process almost twenty years after the first modern futures practice, yet it has become a dominant discourse within the futures literature. Within this discourse, the “intuitive logics” school—closely associated with the Global Business Network [GBN] and SRI, and also if less so with Royal Dutch Shell—has become influential. Literature reviews of scenario methods can even overlook other scenarios processes. In doing this, it has pushed to the background other futures methods that were rooted in philosophical approaches, were oriented towards visioning and agency, and adopted more critical epistemologies. This chapter traces the emergence of scenario planning in the late 1960s and the 1970s, from its roots in more quantitative approaches to futures originally developed for the US Department of Defense. It was adopted at that time because of the crisis of planning then being experienced by large corporations because of the end of the long post-war economic boom. A second wave of corporate scenario planning followed in the 1990s after GBN published a simplified process for developing scenarios using the double uncertainty (2x2) matrix. Several characteristics of corporate scenario planning follow from this history, including the “decision focus” referenced in the literature and assumptions about the relationship between the business and its broader environment. There is also a correspondence between types of methods (for example, deductive or inductive) and the epistemological base of scenarios practice. Finally, the chapter draws on Tibbs’ (1999) model of the psychological basis of futures work to locate mainstream scenario planning work in the body of business strategy, and to understand the business question that scenario planning emerged to address.
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On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Technology Forecasting & Social Change, we review the evolution of corporate and organizational foresight within the journal and look ahead to the coming decade. We apply a systematic literature review process to identify the major contributions in this area of foresight theory and practice covering five decades, and present a thematic summary of these articles. We reveal the concerns of authors as they have sought to apply foresight in corporations, organizations, and institutions, how they have attempted to resolve them, and the progress they have made. We discuss how these authors have cumulatively defined and evolved this portion of the strategic foresight field, from integrating technology with market forecasting to expanding forecast approaches to include multiple futures, to the integration of foresight to create agile and adaptive organizations. We use this as a base for discussing current priorities and future challenges in corporate and organizational foresight, and suggest three trajectories for further research: a) further advancing organizational foresight practices, b) connecting organizational foresight to strategy practice and theory, c) connecting organizational foresight to innovation, engineering, and R&D management practices and theory.
Overview: Machine learning applications in business that return forecasts or predictions of future market or consumer behavior must pay attention to nontechnical aspects of how those forecasts are created and used by leaders. Machine learning projects can generate better forecasts that have greater effect by embracing key methods developed through almost 50 years of corporate foresight practice to improve the adoption and use of forecasts in organizations.
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This exploratory project emerged from the question, "do different scenario building methods generate distinctively different outputs?" Using base data from a completed scenario project, the authors and volunteer participants re-processed the raw and filtered drivers and interview data through four different scenario build- ing methods: the 2x2 matrix approach; causal layered analysis; the Manoa approach; and the scenario archetypes approach. We retained the issue question from the original project ("what are possible futures for civil society?") as our focus. This exploratory comparison confirmed that different scenario generation meth- ods yield not only different narratives and insights, but qualitatively different participant experiences.
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This paper is intended to provide a guidebook for organizational futurists in building a foresight function inside today's organizations by suggesting ten questions that ought to be answered. It addresses how to start from a blank page, but can also offer help to those who have already established a function by suggesting additional questions to think about. It is intended to give auditees a sense of the key issues and challenges they will face. Managers may also find this audit useful in giving a sense of what an organizational futures function can deliver and the skills required of a prospective organizational futurist. A key assumption here is that while there is a growing demand for organizational futurists, the role is evolving to more of a broker function than the building of a staff function more typical of the past.
321 pages, figures, bibliographie Scenarios deals with how managers can set out and negotiate a successful course into the future for the organization in the face of significant uncertainty. Uncertainties about the future are often felt to be uncomfortable and th us "swept under the table" by collapsing them into a single line forecast. This is tantamount to abdication of managerial responsibility. At worst it means a wild jump in the dark. Facing up to uncertainty changes the perspective on the future completely. The secret of success moves from "finding the best strategy" to "finding the best process". Thinking about scenarios - the different plausible future environments that can be imagined - is the key to thinking the process through and to keep thinking about it as the plans for the future unfold. Scenario planning is dynamic. The focus of attention needs to be on the ongoing "strategie conversation", penetrating both the formai and informai exchange of views through whieh the strategie understanding develops - and actions result. Scenarios deals first with the principles of organizational learning and then moves on to describe practieal and down·to·earth ways in whieh the organization can develop its skill in conducting an ongoing scenario·based strategy process. The methods described are based on many years of practical experience of managers in both large and small organizations; and they are grounded in solid logic.
What can explain the longevity gap between a company that survives for centuries--the Swedish company Stora, for example, which is more than 700 years old--and the average corporation, which does not last 20 years? A team at Royal Dutch/Shell Group explored that question. Arie de Geus, a retired Shell executive, writes about the team's findings and describes what he calls living companies-organizations that have beaten the high mortality rate of the average corporation. Many companies die young, de Geus argues, because their policies and practices are based too heavily on the thinking and language of economics. Their managers focus on producing goods and services and forget that the organization is a community of human beings that is in business--any business--to stay alive. In contrast, managers of living companies consider themselves to be stewards of a long-standing enterprise. Their priorities reflect their commitment to the organization's long-term survival in an unpredictable world. Like careful gardeners, they encourage growth and renewal without endangering the plant they are tending. They value profits the same way most people value oxygen: as necessary for life but not the purpose of it. They scuttle assets when necessary to make a dramatic change in the business portfolio. And they constantly search for new ideas. These managers also focus on developing people. They create opportunities for employees to learn from one another. Such organizations are suited for survival in a world in which success depends on the ability to learn, to adapt, and to evolve.
The Fifth Discipline
  • P Senge
Senge, P. 1990. The Fifth Discipline. New York, NY : Doubleday.
The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structures for Writers
  • C Vogler
Vogler, C. 1998. The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structures for Writers. Studio City, CA : Michael Wiese Productions.
Radical Innovation: How Mature Companies Can Outsmart Startups
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Leifer, R., McDermott, C. M., O'Connor, G. C., Peters, L. S., Rice, M., and Veryzer, R. W. 2000. Radical Innovation: How Mature Companies Can Outsmart Startups. Boston, MA : Harvard Business School Press.