We help leading organizations understand, anticipate, and prepare for the future. Placing human experience at the center of possible, plausible, and preferred futures, we identify weak signals, trends, and drivers to illustrate how changes in the world today could shape organizations tomorrow.
Strategic foresight is a process of establishing well-informed and future-oriented perspectives that help fuel, guide, and inspire innovation, strategic planning, and critical decision-making. Applied to product innovation, service design, or organizational transformation, foresight helps organizations better anticipate change by equipping them with the tools and resources needed to ask provocative questions, challenge dominant logics, test assumptions, rethink opportunities, and reset goals.
By uncovering your organization’s baseline view of the future and then stress testing possible and preferable scenarios against it, we help you look ahead and better understand the variables that are influencing or will influence the fundamentals of your business. The result is threefold:
We support strategic planning by strengthening the ability to define and occupy opportunity spaces with greater confidence.
We power up innovation. Looking beyond the notion that today’s trends hold tomorrow’s opportunities, we instead examine the deeper role played by emerging weak signals.
We empower organizational change and change agents by building up the skills, resources, and confidence to explore uncertain, ambiguous, and amorphous future scenarios.
Whether uncovering gaps in organizational knowledge and capacity or challenging existing strategies and solutions to develop new and better ones, strategic foresight will enable you to surprise your competitors with visions of the possible made real.
In the first stage of our process, we uncover the current views of the future held by the organization; identify changes taking place within the market, industry, and broader socioeconomic context; and unpack how these changes will create opportunities for innovation. Some of our activities include:
Baselining futures by conducting research on categories, industries, new entrants, and market disruptions in order to develop an understanding of currently held assumptions, beliefs, and uncertainties about the future.
Assessing organizational relationships with regard to time and change to understand how internal stakeholders think and feel about the future.
Conducting global scanning to analyze emerging signals, trends, and drivers in order to understand and anticipate changes taking place at the core, adjacency, and periphery of a business; these inputs inform a hypothesis about potential impacts, risks, or opportunities.
Mapping high-priority opportunity and risk areas requiring strategic attention; this activity is often complemented by capabilities assessment, SWOT, and gap analysis.
In the second stage of our process, we create multiple future scenarios that illustrate different organizational strategies, behaviors, and innovation hypotheses. We test and validate these with key stakeholders before bringing prioritized, high-potential ideas to life through prototypes, models, and experiences.
Develop Future Scenarios • Leveraging the power of storytelling to explore perspectives on organizational change, how new offerings might manifest in the future, and what types of actions, resources, and capacities may be required to achieve activation.
Test & Validate • Utilizing scenarios to test and validate strategic hypotheses and assess innovation potential in terms of feasibility, acceptability, scalability, and the “now-ability” of ideas.
Prototype • Creating models, products, services, environments, applications, artifacts, and experiences that bring potential futures to life.
To ring in the new year, we created a compilation of some of the signals we explored in 2016. Not only have these signals informed our work over the past year, they also provide a glimpse into the future, helping us understand what we have to look forward to.
We invite you to explore the site and imagine some signals of your own. Ask yourself, what will change in the coming years with regards to technology, economics, the environment, politics, and more? Help us shape what the future has in store.
We facilitate strategic dialogues that engage key stakeholders with scenarios and prototypes. From these interactions, we extract and articulate key innovation, business, and strategy requirements.
Socialize Futures • Developing communication strategy and assets that socialize high-potential futures with key internal and external audiences.
Road Mapping • Illustrating the starting points and paths of long-term planning, innovation, and how different choices and actions may evolve over time, we map key behaviors, technology, organizational capacity requirements, and partner relationships.
Strategic Planning & Innovation Requirements • Articulate a strategic plan and road map by detailing the resources, capacities, relationships, and actions required to develop and bring innovations to market.
We’re more than just futurists • Our team of educated and accredited foresight strategists, anthropologists, design researchers, behavioral economists, and others collaborate on identifying and designing for possible tomorrows. With a truly multi-disciplinary approach, our understanding of key human and other variables leads us toward developing practical real-world outputs and solutions.
We’re interested in your future as well so that it is consistent with the other points • The future is going to start looking strikingly similar for organizations purchasing foresight white papers about “The Future of This” or “The Future of That.” At IC/ futures, we custom create tailored approaches to the future. Our goal is to understand your big questions and focus our energy on finding opportunities that will align with and impact your organization’s current strategies.
We take foresight from end-to-end • We won’t just show you the future. We’ll take you there. We will be your partner from exploration and speculation through to strategic decision-making, implementation, and launch. We have such a remarkably deep and diverse transdisciplinary team of experts that if we can envision it, we can build it.
We have experience across global markets • With offices in Toronto, San Francisco, New York, London, São Paulo, Mexico City, and Shanghai, and a wealth of subject-matter experts in each of these offices, our knowledge of and access to regional and local markets, global influencers, peripheral cultures, outlier ideas, and early adopters drives depth and builds breadth, resulting in unparalleled foresight research.