Look into the future! Deploying strategic foresight for your business in 2023
In recent years, the world has seen how the market evolved to be more fragmented, and any existing SME or striving business owner must be able to anticipate the best steps to stay ahead of the game. Using strategic foresight enables a company to strike the right balance between the need for short-term results and long-term competitiveness. They can prepare better for future uncertainties with robust strategies. Let’s see a summary of the experts’ from Rohrbeck Heger by Creative Dock expectations for 2023. Plus recommendations on which areas to pay more attention.
Common key insights
Adaptability & resilience
While sustainability has always been a part of the conversation, the first element that seems to be recurring regardless of the industry is resilience — preparing the business strategy to fight climate change, curb emissions, and thrive during unpredictable futures. Working with scenarios is one solution to dealing with this. These scenarios represent several radical visions of the future; however, they are not necessarily ideal futures. This scenario-building process is always intriguing, resulting in solutions that offer more adaptability and resilience.
The next noticeable trend is growing consumer awareness of well-being and health. An individual’s well-being includes different aspects, ranging from physical to mental health. In addition, with accessible information at everyone’s fingertips, consumers make better purchase decisions. There was a time when people believed they could only choose to indulge themselves or be healthy. Now they wish to have both at the same time. Whoever cracks the code will win this game, especially for direct-to-consumer food and snacking businesses.
Increasing levels of regulation are another critical factor driving the future of many different industries. We can see how the impact of rigid rules is becoming more visible in various B2C and B2B businesses over time. Additional restrictions exist regarding advertising your product, meeting sustainability requirements, using ingredients and materials, taxation schemes, and more. Foreseeing these conditions with a proper business analysis can significantly stretch the company’s lifespan.
Digitalisation and customer-centric approach
Another common critical insight is the virtualisation of services; it’s not a matter of “if” but “when.” The need for the digitalisation of businesses was vividly demonstrated during the COVID pandemic when there was a sudden paradigm shift in demand for the general public. Companies needed to find a way to deliver their products and services to their market while adhering to the restrictions. Long ago, a company website was considered an afterthought. Now, it plays a crucial role in driving customer traffic to many goods and services, not to mention brand awareness.
“We often see encouraging signs of increased customer-centric design and development. Therefore, consumer feedback is necessary to achieve favourable results.”
Organisations must understand the purpose of a shared vision. They can identify and take steps to bring them there, starting with visualising the future. Companies and teams that lack a future vision are always looking at the present. However, with that long-term perspective, it is easier to envision how we might reach more significant potential in the future. That is highly beneficial and one of the foresight methodology’s most important value drivers. It includes investigating various plausible futures and their potential opportunities and challenges.
The value of strategic foresight methodology
The results can be powerful because it helps to build consensus, especially when discussing what needs to be done with a company’s board of directors, where there are different perspectives or viewpoints.
Aside from knowing where to land in the long term, strategic foresight is also extremely useful for directing shorter-term innovation. Stakeholders would be more confident with the long-term plan by taking small, tangible steps in the right direction.
Ultimately, opportunities are robust and will work in various alternative futures. The entire topic of opportunity assessment is critical for this. Companies want to make more data-driven, evidence-based decisions. These choices increase the complexity levels, and if done correctly, they also increase trust among stakeholders and investors.
“Strategic foresight allows us to anticipate and prepare better because it is a structured, systematic approach to predicting and training for change.”
Advice for clients
Fill knowledge gaps.
Most organisations, at least, the larger ones, already have what they need to succeed, including a vast pool of knowledge. Typically, it’s about communication and how this knowledge and information is structured and organised. That’s how a company identifies what is missing. Rohrbeck Heger specialises in this form of communication called the participative approach, where they guide and bring together people with different competencies from different units to discuss these topics in ways they’ve never done before.
Trust the process.
It is normal to feel uncertain and sceptical at first. Rohrbeck Heger’s process has a unique complexity due to multiple levels of abstract information. Managing uncertainty can feel like steering a small boat in a vast ocean. Nonetheless, clients have always arrived safely at the harbour. Specialists would know what challenges await their clients, and they will do everything they can to assist. And in the end, exciting and unexpected results will surely emerge.
Don’t stop being inspirational.
Always looking beyond what is top of mind for clients is where companies can create the most significant value. Current trends can turn stale, so don’t get too comfortable with sticking to popular topics now. Identify and focus on the next big thing, be a thought leader and help direct attention to the conversation.
Who are the strategic foresight experts?
At Rohrbeck Heger by Creative Dock, three senior foresight professionals were interviewed for their valuable input on shared key insights, the importance of strategic foresight, and advice for clients in 2023. (The original full interviews can be found here.)
- Alejandro Berbesi leads some of the largest and most sophisticated strategy and innovation projects. He also works to develop the team by mentoring colleagues, assessing performance, and tracking their development.
- Philipp Maron pilots complex projects, overseeing their management, communicating with clients, and ensuring that all deliverables and tasks are performed correctly and are of the best quality. Philipp supports his teams as a sounding board and conducts research interviews to better understand the industries and issues.
- Bram Roosens specialises in Foresight-Driven Innovation projects. His work often takes him on location to collaborate directly with clients, working closely with their teams for extended periods.
Suppose you know what needs to be done when applying Rohbeck Heger by Creative Dock’s methodology of strategic foresight. Consider checking out more of Creative Dock’s innovation and execution process to bring your company’s visions to life. Contact us, and we will be happy to arrange cooperation. Make your 2023 as successful as possible.