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Futuring and visioning: complementary approaches to strategic decision making

Stephen M. Millett (Co‐author of The Manager's Guide to Technology Forecasting and Strategy Analysis Methods. He is also a Strategy & Leadership Contributing Editor (

Strategy & Leadership

ISSN: 1087-8572

Article publication date: 1 May 2006




The purpose of this article is to clarify the difference between futuring and visioning and to suggest how they may be better implemented as complementary approaches to strategic decision‐making.


A veteran of more than 80 scenario development projects, the author describes the tools required and the best practices for defining the mission, setting the goals, developing a vision, and making plans that move a business beyond the familiar of today to the uncertainties of tomorrow


Offers examples of companies that used futuring and visioning tools to prepare product scenarios that anticipated the future, unarticulated voice of the customer.

Practical implications

Guidance for leadership: Recognize the difference between futuring and visioning, and do both in a complementary way. Encourage, if not require, people to think about the future of both customers and products. Set up a futuring unit to prepare trend monitoring and scanning, trend analysis, build forecasting models, and prepare narrations on the future of the external business environment for the entire company. Set up a program whereby employees have opportunities to participate in visioning exercises, especially when the topic question involves visioning at their own operational levels. Use the products of futuring as a frame of reference for visioning exercises. Develop a vision for the company based upon wide participation and using both futuring and visioning. Consistently articulate the vision for both external and internal audiences.


The article provides guidance about the process of learning about the future so that organizations can routinely integrate futuring and visioning into a vision statement and strategic plans



Millett, S.M. (2006), "Futuring and visioning: complementary approaches to strategic decision making", Strategy & Leadership, Vol. 34 No. 3, pp. 43-50.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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