FuturesThinking in Flanders’ Firms still immature.

Our view :  Results from a recent ETION survey indicate that FuturesThinking in Flanders’ Firms is still immature and concrete action is required.   As far as foresight capabilities are concerned there is a need to go beyond SWOT and brainstorming.   To be successful Corporate Foresight requires a structured and continuous approach.

About the ETION study
From megatrends to fashion trends. Each branch or public policy domain has its own trend reports describing the bigger and smaller evolutions shaping the future. As organizations rely on the environment for their success, gaining insight in current and future developments in their ecosystem can be very useful.

To what extent are firms looking forward in order to anticipate the future? And what are the trends and developments that really matter for companies? These were the two central questions in an ETION survey they conducted in companies in Flanders and Brussels.
It is often said that our society changes fast and disruptively. Looking forward by imagining the future before it develops itself, can foster a proactive approach to these changes. Therefore the ETION study also looked into the practice of futures thinking in the business world: what methods are used, ref. below diagram.


ITONICS enabling 3 Horizons Approach

To be able to compete today, tomorrow and the day after, it is not enough to do one-off organisational work. You need to organise to drive innovation in several horizons. According to Steve Coley (2009), innovation work can be divided into three parallel horizons. The first horizon (H1) is about incremental innovation in today’s business, extending the existing S-curve of the company. Horizon 2 (H2) is about expanding and building new business (the next coming S-curve, a mix of incremental and radical innovation) through innovation. Horizon 3 (H3) is an explorative and radical approach to future S-curves, to be commercialised in H2, ending up in H1.

The Itonics platform facilitates to manage your innovation portfolio according to time Continue reading

Platform Value Now Initiative

The Platform Value Now project funded by Finland’s Strategic Research Councilwill focus on understanding the fast emerging platform ecosystems, their value creation dynamics and requirements of the supportive institutional environment. They will analyze ecosystems with systems tools and develop new methods for platform-centric ecosystems management. Data collection is based on active scanning of global technology and platform ecosystems and fast solution oriented case experiments with Finnish corporations and policy planners. The aim of the project is to operationalize the collected understanding into a Platform Profile framework that will enable more efficient method and tool development for ecosystem management.

Read more on their website.

End2End Innovation

White paper from ITONICS, our strategic technology partner.


“An organization that has no idea about the future does not have a future. Of course the future can only be understood and planned to a certain extent. Targeted innovation management, however, helps companies to identify and pick up on trends and technologies in good time and channel them to create targeted innovations. This paper  outlines the processes required to do this from the environmental analysis to brainstorming through to the planning of the market launch. In particular, the early stage of the innovation process has to date been neglected in innovation management.

This paper  presents a holistic, IT-supported innovative approach from environmental scanning through to the innovation roadmap and deals with the challenges faced in its implementation.”

Please leave us your coordinates to receive a complimentary copy of the white paper

More info on ITONICS.


The Foresight Guide

The Foresight Guide provides information about foresight and prepares readers to create, anticipate, and manage the future by understanding foresight and the tools that professionals use to better work with the future. The Foresight Guide includes survey answers from members in a 3,500+ professional network (including ourselves), lists of resources and websites for more information, and suggestions on how to get started or expand your own foresight career or successfully implement foresight thinking in your current profession. The Foresight Guide is a first of its kind e-book written by FERN co-founder John Smart with chapters by Josh Davis, Susan Fant and Anna-Leena Vasamo.

Review the guide.

In case you are in need of further guidance, tailored training, hands-on workshops or coaching, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Planned Opportunism, from weak signals to opportunity spaces

“Planned opportunism” is Vijay Govindaraja’s term for responding to an unpredictable future by paying attention to weak signals—early evidence of emerging trends from which it is possible to deduce important changes in demography, technology, customer tastes and needs, and economic, environmental, regulatory, and political forces. That attention gives rise to fresh perspectives and nonlinear thinking, which help an organization imagine and plan for various plausible futures. Planned opportunism is a discipline that creates a “circulatory system” for new ideas; develops the capacity to prioritize, investigate, and act on those ideas; and builds an adaptive culture that embraces continual change.

We couldn’t agree more and highly recommend reading the article at https://hbr.org/2016/05/planned-opportunism .    The messages expressed align very well with our approach re Trends mgt and the identification of opportunity spaces.

How to innovate and execute

A pragmatic, powerful and purposeful new framework for making strategic innovation work.   It balances creating the future, managing the present, and forgetting (selectively)   the past.   Its structure and overall philosophy will certainly appeal to business leaders.   We are believers and we will certainly apply it within our consulting work.

Watch the video from Vijay Govindarajan


The Fuzzy Front-End of Strategic Innovation

Innovation is a process, and while the introduction of a genuinely innovative product or service may be highly publicized or even glamorous, the process itself is driven much less by creative brainstorming or strategic planning than by carefully managed and highly-sophisticated cross-disciplinary thinking and research. Readers will learn how to manage the critically important first steps from Idris Mootee.

Read more on how to create future opportunity spaces.