Whether you call futurism a form of strategic foresights, scenario planning or predictive analysis, the approach is a key part of business planning in today’s evolving environment. This includes understanding emerging trends, predicting customer needs, anticipating market shifts, and responding to technological advancements. By looking at the bigger picture of what could happen in the future, businesses can prepare for any eventuality and ensure they are not caught off guard when changes occur. Additionally, futurism provides a way to explore new ideas and innovate products or services.
Going Deeper Into the Research
Bigger threats and widespread changes in the market demand more agile thinking. Forward-thinking businesses need to be nimble and pivot accordingly but to do that futurism can play a supporting role. Developing strategies for short-term growth and revenue is all well and good, but a futurist mind-set can help ensure your company has a plan for the long-term.
In a Forbes story on “How to think like a futurist to transform your business,” author Kim Bates, Chief Marketing Officer & Chief Futurist at LRXD, notes, “One way to develop a futurist mindset is to gain a clear understanding of the data about macro forces in the world and where they are headed. This includes economic, social, environmental, demographic, health, technological and political trends.” With all of this data, patterns may emerge that will give direction to your company and its role in the world. Importantly, it’s the “why” behind all the data that will give your hypothesis more meaning and accuracy, according to Bates.
Deeper research will then lead to deeper insights. “All of this data and input can help you develop a much clearer vision. It also allows you to conduct deeper, more accurate scenario planning and understand potential risks and opportunities. This sets the groundwork for tomorrow’s strategies and policies,” says Bates.
Plan for the Future Now
In a recent blog post, “Using Insights to Predict the Future,” All Things Insights further examined predictive analytics. A key component of any marketing strategy is to think about and plan for the future. Despite constant macro and micro disruption, marketers can still prepare and be ready for the future and to take on any emerging trends and issues that may arise.
There will never be complete facts about the future, which is always a shifting and moving target. Rather, strategic foresights is a structured and systematic way to anticipate and better prepare for change. The goal is to identify possible opportunities or risks in order to inform strategic decision making.
Building a foresight culture focused on the future is a critical tool for today’s enterprises to compete. It takes collaboration and communication as well as thoughtful and organized planning. Whether you view it as visioning, strategic foresights, future studies, predictive modeling or any number of other terms, the insights team with their research and data analytical skills is at the forefront of this capacity.
Shaping The Future
With a “future is now” approach, futurists and insights teams can develop frameworks that will help direct their company to new opportunities while avoiding potential pitfalls. We thought it fitting to use ChatGPT and its artificial intelligence service to come up with a few concrete tips in how futurists can shape the future of a company.
- Invest in data-driven decision making: Utilizing data and analytics to inform decisions can help a company stay ahead of the curve by providing insights into trends, customer behavior, and more.
- Focus on automation: Automating mundane processes can free up time for employees to focus on more important tasks or develop new products and services.
- Embrace digital transformation: Leveraging digital technologies such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), blockchain, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) can give companies an edge over their competition while also creating new opportunities for growth.
- Cultivate a culture of innovation: Encouraging creativity and experimentation within the organization helps foster innovation that is essential for any business’s future success.
- Prioritize talent acquisition and retention strategies: Attracting talent with skillsets needed in this rapidly changing world is key to staying competitive. Developing strategies that promote employee engagement will help ensure these talents are retained long term as well.
“The future ain’t what it used to be,” Yogi Berra once said. Certainly, futurism has come a long way in the business world. Coupled with the critical tool of scenario planning, futurism can aid marketing and insights professionals deal with waves of change in their respective industries and marketplaces. Indeed, we have seen that economic and cultural factors can change and transform businesses literally overnight.
It’s possible that futurism’s reliance on scenario planning will one day be superseded or at least supplemented by other strategies for envisioning the future, such as computer simulations, notes the American Management Association in a blog post on “Futurism: A growing business strategy.” The blog post concludes, “However, the underlying desire to anticipate future events is unlikely to wane as long as business people are forced to compete against one another in a dynamic marketplace.”
Video courtesy of Gerd Leonhard