Today I met Friday, an up-and-coming proto-practitioner.
“What do I do with an organisation that both needs to use foresight to be more effective but that also lacks the serious capacity to actually do the foresight?”
My suggestion was to not ask them to DO the foresight but instead ask them to USE the foresight that you (and others) have done for them.
One of the easiest mistakes that the proto-practitioner can make is to confuse that idea that people need to know HOW to do Foresight in order to USE foresight. I agree its nice if our clients could do and use Foresight but the risk is, and my experience says, that you spend your organisational credibility and the clients bandwidth on the less important part of the brief at your peril. The lore of our field is full of people who “did the foresight bit” only to find they did not know “how” to use the foresight bit – hence foresight was a waster of time. Ergo – start looking for a new sandbox to play in.
(Aside here – do we ask our clients to do foresight with us so they can appreciate just how clever and talented we are? Do we do it in order to manage our own insecurity?)
My suggestion on Monday to Friday was generate a process that her internal clients could use great foresight ideas to help them solve their future dilemma’s quickly and enjoyably while also maximising their time effectively. And because you don’t have to keep the foresight generation process ‘simple’ then you can really go for broke with rigorous and complex data generation processes (read Morphology here!) that will stand up to serious professional scrutiny and that would also allow comparative study across repeat iterations of the data generation.
It was good coffee.