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Making the case for foresight: 9 reasons why a global crisis is a critical time to think about the future

 

  1. Local, regional, national, global and organizational recovery depends on actions we take now. We cannot wait to begin new strategic initiatives and we cannot descend into the purely tactical and expect to succeed in the long term.
  2. Everything is changing, and many things are called into question. This is a critical moment to move our focus past narrow interests and look at the bigger systems that we are part of. [See: Our big test]
  3. Most of what we do has to be re-thought as our core assumptions about the marketplace get reexamined. The organizations that get that thinking going now can be ahead of their competitors in tackling new opportunities that will emerge when the economy stabilizes, and, hopefully, begins to grow again.
  4. Foresight now can help us have positive thoughts by moving our thinking beyond the immediate crisis to build an opportunity focus, not just a problem focus. We can work to get un-stuck, focus on what we can control, and begin to move forward. [See: Foresight helps you get un-stuck]
  5. Because so many systems are disrupted, we may be free from the usual constraints on our thoughts and ideas to think wholly fresh thoughts about our markets, sector, products, and so on [See: Does the economic crisis create an opening?]
  6. A fresh look at the market, and the skills, technologies, contacts, products, and so on that we have to leverage could yield ideas with low- or zero-budget impact that we can do now.
  7. Now may be the time to “rebuild it better”. In other words, some of the systems, processes, and businesses we have had may best be not shored up and revived as they were, but might better be rethought completely.
  8. Get an edge on the competition. Others may be in a weakened condition and will not be focused on opportunities. The ability to envision a positive path forward and begin to take action toward it now will mean near and longer-term success in the marketplace.
  9. Despite tough times, if we have a positive outlook, a vision, and plans for action, we are likely to give others confidence in us. For example, in tight credit market, lenders will favor those with a positive spirit and a clear path forward. We can show our customers, vendors, business partners, lenders, investors, shareholders, and so on, a positive outlook and strategic view forward.
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{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Frank Spencer October 28, 2008, 10:05 pm

    Hi John,

    Good article! I was just talking about this very subject this week with a friend, telling him that now is the BEST time for futurists and strategic thinking to be employed by companies and organizational leaders, not the time to shrink back into status quo thinking and total risk management. Of course, that is exactly what many will do (are doing), but as you stated, this is a time for re-framing (not only organizationally, but on a social context and human emergence level as well – whole systems!), opportunity assessment, idea creation, and transformational development.

    Not sure why I never added your blog to my links… sorry!

    Thanks,
    Frank Spencer

  • John Mahaffie October 29, 2008, 8:08 am

    Frank,

    Thanks for the confirming thought. Foolishly, I didn’t know you were writing ForwardOnline. I don’t have a blogroll on ForesightCulture, but will be reading your thoughts henceforth.

    Regards,

    John

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