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Turn of the Tides: Foresight as an Offensive Innovation Strategy

Innovation has been a buzzword almost any organization says it has but is essentially an empty word that is injected with different meanings by anyone who comes across it. To many organizations, this word is the survival of their business. Being related to the Board of Innovation family, there are many ways innovation is addressed; to build up the clients capabilities or assist them to build in businesses/services/products. In the last 20 years, we have seen that many organizations need to change in order to address increasingly strong competition from new entrants (mainly from startups).

Most methods and processes in innovation training are reactive processes organizations take on to develop their innovation capabilities that lead to new businesses. Creating internally a more robust organization that can handle attacks on many fronts, is a defensive measure that allows the organization to forge on to create value for their customers.

What can organizations do as offensive actions?

Strategic foresight is considered an analytical area that gauges and monitors environmental signals allowing the organizations to strategically manage the inbound future business landscape. The anticipatory aspect gives the organizations the front foot by making the necessary moves today, they have strategic advantages in the future (see the article about related 50-year visions).

Amazon and Netflix are among some of the most interesting companies to follow their strategical decisions over the years. Amazon creating AWS(Amazon Web Services) or their acquisition of Wholefoods? Netflix becoming a Production House?

While there is a method to the madness of Amazon’s strategical decisions, it is more complex to fully attribute to strategic foresight. However, Netflix’s moves from distributing DVDs via post mail, to online streaming services, to be a content provider as well. The foresight ingrained in the organization is exceptional, as they were able to position themselves to compete with other streaming services which started as content providers such as Disney.

Organizations will still need to maintain innovative processes and continue to have agile organizations but foresight is an added dimension where organizations are proactive about future opportunities, even before anyone in the market is aware of them. With uncertain futures, it is still very important to have a good balance between defensive and offensive measures.

Does your organization have foresight-based innovation strategies?

Are you ready to take proactive measures?

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Jeffery Hansen

Full Stack Innovator |Interested Tech, Society, Anthropology, Startups, and Design.