Strategic foresight is leadership

Foresight and reinvention strategy are the essential tools of future enterprise leaders.

Having foresight conjures up visions of an ability to create future reality and that’s not an unfair conclusion.

The speed of change when disruptive innovation surrounds you means venture leadership will become tests of strategic foresight  and proactive reinvention ahead of market forces. To preserve a venture from real risks of being doomed to market irrelevance.

Chimp thinkThat leaves three choices in which to place your trust: Your own foresight inclusive of reinvention options, the sage advice of a hired gun for this crucial task, or the data your predictive analytics is based on.

In reality strategic foresight is a combination of all three PLUS the credentials of a proven scenario planner and well-honed ability as an adaptive thinker.

That’s a broad brush descriptive of the intuitive skills required to be a foresight strategist – the most critical 21st Century addition to the skill set and mindset of successful venture leadership.

Foresight strategy can be learned – but an innate sense of leadership and authentic self belief is required to be a great one.

I’d usually be more comfortable with if a compaany or venture is being led by it’s foresight strategist and who has the role of chief communicator of core vision.

It’s such a new field  in name that the education of potential foresight strategists is a cognitive experiment in itself. he fact is in terms of complications or factoring-in scenarios if 20th Century business was a four-sided cube represented by strategy, marketing, execution and customer care then business of the future is a cubics cube.

In simplistic terms business is about risk versus return over time.For many reasons both risk and return can far greater in e-commerce – the numbers exponential enough for traditional accountants to have nightmares if you try to quantify both sides of the equation.

If you refuse to believe in the potential but took on board the theoretic risk factor then external financing would run for cover leaving believers as investeors. It’s a reason corporates are struggling to enter the sector unless their balance sheets can carry much of the risk. They have traditionally bolted-on going concerns bought on proven sustainable earnings.

Prime tech companies such as Twitter and Xero are being valued on huge multiples while continuing to make losses created by investing in expansion. Others are discounted on notional future potential once/if scale is achieved. E-commerce ventures need to be valued using a degree of foresight  the directors and boards of public listed boards have trouble getting their heads around. That share markets price on future earnings based on available public information makes any

E-commerce operates at a level of transparency that would have caused the early death by speculation of many public companies in retail and media that continue to struggle to adapt or add digital divisions to their business model. A question I’m not qualified to answer is how relevant are publicly traded shares to capital raising in the future?

Millennia 2015 The foresight process
Whether you measure profit as a number or by proven ability to generate intellectual and creative thought and innovation in-house has a bearing on how you perceive such a business and your foresight on how you see business models develop. These questions of focusing on business models so adaptive they are virtually indestructible but with limited balance sheets they can carry. Or else potential gold mines that are prodigious producers of output protected best by secrecy or disingenuous in the type of information they disclose.

The alternatives as reactive has-been spending shareholder’s funds to be seen trying to keep up seems a risky strategy doomed to fail. It suggests self-belief was the faulty cornerstone before foresight got a look in. I’ve more confidence in carefully considered and planned risks based on scenario-planning aimed at leap-frogging the competition. Otherwise it’s time to weigh up if you are in the right business. Doomed to fail without firing a shot is not my type final scorecard.

Developing skills in strategic foresight is a mindset and a business discipline but taking proactive punts on future scenarios is where business is headed. Creating the business model that can cope with diversity is where our research  at Reimagineer has focused. If you are wondering about the other seven factors this rant hasn’t got there yet.

Passion, clarity of vision and self-belief have always been prerequisite qualities of private enterprise leadership and cornerstones in the success of start-up ventures. How well you’ve instilled these in each individual in your team is a measure of candidate selection. and training in team culture. Then add curiosity, vision, intuition which add up to a final reward of freedom. A seven-in-one story for another day.

 

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