Strategic foresight

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Strategic foresight is a planning-oriented discipline related to futures studies. In a business context, a more action-oriented approach has become well known as corporate foresight.[1][2]

Definition and idea[edit]

Strategy is a high level plan to achieve one or more goals under conditions of uncertainty.[3] Strategic foresight happens when any planner uses scanned inputs, forecasts, alternative futures exploration, analysis and feedback to produce or alter plans and actions of the organization.[4][5] Scenario planning plays a prominent role in strategic foresight. The flowchart to the right provides a process for classifying a phenomenon as a scenario in the intuitive logics tradition and differentiates it from many other techniques and approaches to planning.[6]

Process for classifying a phenomenon as a scenario in the Intuitive Logics tradition.

Strategic planning always includes analysis, but it may or may not involve serious foresight on the way to developing a plan, or taking an action. A consideration of possible futures (alternative futures) and of probable futures (forecasts, predictions) is important to developing a preferred future (plan), even the simple mental plans made prior to taking an action.[7] It is the job of the strategic foresight professional to make sure appropriately diverse and relevant inputs, forecasts, and alternatives are considered in the analysis, decision making and planning processes, that plans are appropriately communicated and that when actions are taken, appropriate feedback occurs and after action reviews take place to improve the foresight process.[8]

Strategic foresight is a growing practice in corporate foresight in large companies.[9][1][2] Its use is also growing in government and non-profit organisations.[10][11] In recent years, researchers and managers have also elaborated more on the links between foresight and innovation management.[12]

Strategic foresight can be practiced at multiple levels, including:

  1. Personal"Personal and professional goal-setting and action planning"[13]
  2. Organizational"Carrying out tomorrows' business better"[14]
  3. Social"Moving toward the next civilisation – the one that lies beyond the current hegemony of techno/industrial/capitalist interests"[15]


  • "Strategic foresight is the ability to create and maintain a high-quality, coherent and functional forward view, and to use the insights arising in useful organisational ways. For example to detect adverse conditions, guide policy, shape strategy, and to explore new markets, products and services. It represents a fusion of futures methods with those of strategic management" (R. Slaughter (1999), p. 287).[16]

"To manage ones expectations according to what is most predictable,act within reason, time is the measure of the function of all things that can be considered equally as important." Curtis Carpenter. Aphorism.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Rohrbeck, Rene (2010) Corporate Foresight: Towards a Maturity Model for the Future Orientation of a Firm, Heidelberg: Physica-Verlag, Springer, ISBN 978-3-7908-2625-8
  2. ^ a b Rohrbeck, René; Mahdjour, Sarah; Knab, Sebastian; Frese, Tobias (2009-07-01). "Benchmarking Report: Strategic Foresight in Multinational Companies". Rochester, NY. doi:10.2139/ssrn.1470050. SSRN 1470050. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ Gerry., Johnson (2008). Exploring corporate strategy : text and cases. Scholes, Kevan., Whittington, Richard, 1958- (8th ed.). Harlow: FT Prentice Hall. ISBN 9780273711919. OCLC 316418838.
  4. ^ Coates, Joseph; Durance, Philippe; Godet, Michel (2010). "Strategic Foresight Issue: Introduction". Technological Forecasting and Social Change. 77 (9): 1423–1425. doi:10.1016/j.techfore.2010.08.001.
  5. ^ Gavetti, Giovanni; Menon, Anoop (2016-09-01). "Evolution Cum Agency: Toward a Model of Strategic Foresight". Strategy Science. 1 (3): 207–233. doi:10.1287/stsc.2016.0018. ISSN 2333-2050.
  6. ^ Spaniol, Matthew J.; Rowland, Nicholas J. (2019). "Defining Scenario". Futures & Foresight Science. 1: e3. doi:10.1002/ffo2.3.
  7. ^ Amara, Roy (1974). "The futures field: Functions, forms, and critical issues". Futures. 6 (4): 289–301. doi:10.1016/0016-3287(74)90072-x.
  8. ^ Rohrbeck, René; Battistella, Cinzia; Huizingh, Eelko (2015). "Corporate foresight: An emerging field with a rich tradition" (PDF). Technological Forecasting and Social Change. 101: 1–9. doi:10.1016/j.techfore.2015.11.002.
  9. ^ Oliver Schwarz, Jan (2008). "Assessing the future of futures studies in management". Futures. 40 (3): 237–246. doi:10.1016/j.futures.2007.08.018.
  10. ^ Heger, Tobias; Boman, Magnus (2015). "Networked foresight—The case of EIT ICT Labs". Technological Forecasting and Social Change. 101: 147–164. doi:10.1016/j.techfore.2014.02.002.
  11. ^ Harper, Jennifer Cassingena; Cuhls, Kerstin; Georghiou, Luke; Johnston, Ron (2008-05-01). "Future-oriented technology analysis as a driver of strategy and policy". Technology Analysis & Strategic Management. 20 (3): 267–269. doi:10.1080/09537320801997193. ISSN 0953-7325. S2CID 7047752.
  12. ^ von der Gracht, Heiko; Vennemann, Robert; Darkow, Inga-Lena (2010). "Corporate foresight and innovation management: A portfolio-approach in evaluating organizational development". Futures - the Journal of Policy Planning and Futures Studies. 42 (4): 380–393. doi:10.1016/j.futures.2009.11.023.
  13. ^ Morrisey, George L. (1992), Creating Your Future: Personal Strategic Planning for Professionals, Berrett Koehler, San Francisco, CA.
  14. ^ Hamel, G., & Prahalad, C.K. (1994), Competing for the Future, Harvard Business School Press, Boston MA.
  15. ^ Slaughter, Richard A. (2004), Futures Beyond Dystopia: Creating Social Foresight, RoutledgeFarmer, London, UK. ISBN 978-0-415-30270-8; p. 217
  16. ^ Richard, Slaughter (1999). Futures for the third millennium : enabling the forward view. St Leonards, N.S.W.: Prospect. ISBN 9781863161480. OCLC 43628902.

Scientific journals[edit]