Strategic Planning and Scenario-Based Forescasting
Strategic foresight is not about predicting the future, it's about resilience in the face of major surprises
A 1997 study by Royal Dutch Shell found that the average lifespan of a large company is about 50 years. Companies often fail at the height of their success because of a failure to anticipate or adapt to change. (How big was Kodak just 10 years ago?)
What is Foresight?
If you want to develop better strategic policies--ones that are more resilient in the face of unpredictable market or social changes--then I can help. The strategic planning methods I use can assist companies, governments and other organizations in building the kind of resilience that will allow them to weather unexpected shocks. This kind of foresight should be a component of all long-term corporate and governmental planning.
For ten years now I've been periodically engaged in doing foresight consulting, with clients such as the Canadian government and army; some of our conference findings went straight to the Prime Minister's office. I've published a 27,000 word "fictionalization" of military foresight studies entitled Crisis in Zefra, given numerous talks and keynote addresses, and facilitated at conferences. I can bring extensive experience in the following to your projects:
- Scenario-based forecasting I have extensive experience with scenario-based strategic planning, going back ten years in my own private practice. This includes:
- Horizon scanning
- Drivers analysis
- Scenario development and writing
- Foresight project design
Over the two years earning my Master's degree I initiated and helped manage numerous foresight and innovation-related projects. These projects included business model analysis and design, product and service design. I've also participated in project design commercially for clients such as the Canadian army.
- Session facilitation, results capture and public presentation I'm a good facilitator and speaker and have worked with diverse teams from government, industry and the military. As part of this activity, I've become experienced with many aspects of scenario-based foresight, including:
- Conference planning
- Break-out session lead, results capture and summary
- Public speaking, including giving keynote addresses
- Writing, including preliminary scenarios and summary reports My unique contribution is the ability to craft fictionalized dramatizations of foresight findings. Examples of this include the 27,000 word Crisis in Zefra, as well as shorter pieces such as the story "Community".
- Design of "serious games" I've designed and overseen "red versus blue" scenarios involving future conflicts and future technologies. Such simulations can provide surprising insights into technical vulnerabilities and the effects of disruptive technologies. They also generate tremendous enthusiasm in conference attendees, which can help move things forward.
Master's Degree in Strategic Foresight
In October 2011 I was awarded the degree of Master of Design in Strategic Foresight and Innovation from OCAD University (our building was recently hailed as one of the 13 "strangest buildings in the world" by TravelandLeisure.com). This has formalized my skills and experience in an area where I already do a good deal of work. My Major Project was the design of a technique within the general methodology of scenario development. The project is entitled Fiction as Foresight: Presenting Foresight Findings as Fiction, and is about the use of storytelling to highlight, synthesize or present the findings of some given foresight activity. (This makes it an activity distinct, for instance, from Brian David Johnson's notion of science fiction prototyping.) Copies of my formal report are available upon request.
Features of this site
I've designed this part of the website to feature this aspect of my work. I've also chosen Plone as my website technology because it allows me to create secure sub-sites that clients can use to set up their workspaces. I've done this in the past--in 2006 with the Prospective Protective Futures workshops, for instance, where we used a subsite of mine to develop the conference material and agenda. This time around, I can provide many more features and services for such activities.