The purpose of this paper is to report on how foresight methods are being used to address a “wicked problem” for the global furniture industry: “What are we going to do in the furniture industry in high cost countries (HCC) to maintain our future competitiveness with respect to the competition coming from low cost countries?”
This study explores one sectorial initiative, CEFFOR® (Furniture Foresight Centre, headquarters in Valencia, Spain), that attempts to mitigate the negative impact of globalisation on the competitiveness of the furniture industry in HCCs, by creating a vision of a preferable future through the use of a set of qualitative foresight tools (structural analysis, morphological analysis/field anomaly relaxation, and cross impact analysis) involving a worldwide expert panel.
This paper examines the set‐up phase of the CEFFOR initiative, and describes the main elements of the morphological space developed to profile possible future configurations of the global furniture industry. Future papers will report on further model development and the subsequent take‐up of this work.
The approach used could be adapted to a variety of other industrial sectors. While this study examines a traditional industrial sector, there is no conceptual limitation on its use in other sectors, although such adaptation should clearly remain alert to the unique aspects of any industry.
The novelty of this initiative is the application of a normative foresight approach in a traditional industrial sector in order to generate a shared vision of a sustainable future, and to integrate this foresight approach with an existing business intelligence system.
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