Most of what you will have to respond to is out in the unknown space that is your future. But you can prepare for the things you’ll do, though less often the exact things you’ll do. You need general foresight fitness.
Consider the gym-goer. She works out, building strength, flexibility, endurance, and agility. Her goal? Being ready for things she wants to do, and for life itself. She wants to be stronger, more flexible, and to feel good. Then she is better prepared for what life will throw at her. Daily life gives her physical challenges. And she may choose and reach for other challenges. Going in strong, flexible, agile, and with greater endurance makes everything else better.
|Fitness as a metaphor for foresight|
|Fitness goal||Foresight goal|
|Build strength||Be more positive, prepared, and intentional about change|
|Gain endurance||Grow the sustainability of your organization. Make it one capable of surviving and mastering change without spending or wearing itself out|
|Increase flexibility||Improve speed to action and readiness to maneuver|
|Develop agility||Become more practiced at responding to change|
Foresight does this. Here’s how:
Exploring the future means exercising our minds—by exploring “what ifs.” We practice thinking about our response to change. We get stronger at anticipating future change, but also responding to it as it happens.
As with the gym, you can look at general training. Strength training and cardio, for example, give you general fitness. Exploring the future landscape 10 years out gives you strength as you face uncertainty. You can tailor efforts to specific needs. A baseball player works on the power with the bat by using a cable machine to simulate a baseball swing.
You can do something like this with foresight. Scenarios for your sector or a new technology let you prepare for responses to specific challenges and opportunities.
So what about measurement? The gym analogy weakens. Yes, you can measure muscle and endurance with weights and times. But there isn’t a clear parallel for that in foresight. We don’t count trends gathered, for example, to measure the success of foresight.
But fitness has evolved far from “how much can you bench?” Fitness pros understand what matters is overall fitness, not some “look at me” measure of strength. Old gym rats are still measuring themselves on how much they can bench press or the circumference of their biceps. But modern-day fitness is about broad and holistic good health.
So is foresight. So get fit and stay fit, and you’ll enjoy a healthier future.
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