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Article
Publication date: 12 April 2011

David Sarpong

The aim of this paper is to draw on the social theory of practice to show scenario thinking as an everyday practice and how the practice could be theorised at the meso‐level.

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to draw on the social theory of practice to show scenario thinking as an everyday practice and how the practice could be theorised at the meso‐level.

Design/methodology/approach

Counterfactual analysis, scenario analysis and peripheral vision are presented as the constituting methodological triad through which scenario thinking comes into representation.

Findings

Scenario thinking is a temporally emerging everyday organizational practice. By placing emphasis on the mundane and taken for granted activities that come together to form the nexus of the practice, often deep underlying structures of organizational behaviour contributing to scenario thinking can be theorised.

Research limitations/implications

The practice conceptualisation of scenario thinking inverts and challenges existing management and practitioners' conventional understanding of the practice as an episodic phenomenon in waiting to be facilitated by an expert with specific end points and conformity.

Practical implications

Foresight practitioners and researchers can use this as an analytical starting point for the study and theorising of scenario thinking in self organized groups.

Originality/value

The paper provides a new angle of vision to extend understanding of the development and theorising of scenario thinking in autonomous working groups.

Details

Foresight, vol. 13 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2006

Joseph Voros

The purpose of this article is to examine the nature and type of methods used in futures studies and foresight work which are explicitly concerned with creating “forward

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to examine the nature and type of methods used in futures studies and foresight work which are explicitly concerned with creating “forward views” and/or “images of the future” (“prospective” methods).

Design/methodology/approach

A new analytical technique, “mode‐level analysis”, is introduced and described, based on a classification of “modes” of futures thinking and levels of “depth” of interpretive frameworks. By choosing both a set of thinking modes and a series of interpretive levels as a basis, prospective methods may be analyzed in terms of which mode(s) and what level(s) they operate with or at.

Findings

Two modes of thinking and five levels of depth are chosen for this analysis. The resulting schema is used to classify such methods as: wildcards, forecasting, “trend breaks”, visioning, backcasting, and alternative histories and counterfactuals. An analysis is also carried out on the method of “scenarios”, revealing a variety of different approaches operating at multiple levels of depth. The historical development of prospective methods is also discussed.

Practical implications

Mode‐level analysis can be generalized to any number of modes or levels, depending on the application, context or objectives of the analyst. It may be used by academics for interest's sake and for teaching students, and by practitioners as both a design tool and a diagnostic one.

Originality/value

This paper introduces a new technique for classifying prospective methods, and may help lead to ideas for the creation of new methods.

Details

Foresight, vol. 8 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

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Article
Publication date: 14 August 2017

Nanami Furue and Yuichi Washida

The purpose of this paper is to first suggest scanning focal areas in new product development (NPD) by comparing with design thinking and, second, to uncover what people…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to first suggest scanning focal areas in new product development (NPD) by comparing with design thinking and, second, to uncover what people in different occupations expect of NPD based on future scenarios.

Design/methodology/approach

Authors place scanning and design thinking into a matrix of product-market strategies. In addition, this study adopts several open-end-type questionnaire surveys of employees at Japanese companies who have taken part in idea generation workshops that take a medium- to long-term perspective.

Findings

Authors found that innovations generated through scanning can cover the most difficult and uncertain areas in practice compared with design thinking. This manuscript also reveals occupational categories can be divided into two groups according to different expectations of NPD: the rapid-fire NPD expectation group and late-bloomer NPD expectation group. The former group which consists of marketing and engineering experts tends to expect that NPD is simply a response to existing needs and that profit will be gained expeditiously through NPD, while the latter, which comprising design and research experts, tends to expect that NPD will realize future innovations.

Originality/value

This study shows some common and different points between scanning and design thinking by using a theoretical framework of product-market strategies. Also, this study reveals who will lead innovation based on foresight in business.

Details

foresight, vol. 19 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

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Article
Publication date: 6 July 2015

Sonya Remington-Doucette and Sheryl Musgrove

The purpose of this paper is to present the results of a classroom assessment aimed at determining the extent to which five key sustainability competencies develop in…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present the results of a classroom assessment aimed at determining the extent to which five key sustainability competencies develop in students during an introductory transdisciplinary sustainability course. University sustainability programs intend to provide integrated education that fosters the key competencies students need to solve real-world sustainability problems. Translating sustainability competencies into effective pedagogical practice in integrated academic programs is not straightforward. This work builds on a previous study by both expanding the competencies evaluated and considering additional demographic characteristics.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper summarizes previously identified key sustainability competencies and describes teaching methodologies used to foster these competencies in students. Development of competencies in students during a semester-long course is assessed using a pre-/post-test based on two case studies. The implications of the findings for teaching practice and overall program structure are discussed.

Findings

Based on the assessment methods used here, four of the five sustainability competencies evaluated in this study developed differently in students according to gender, disciplinary affiliation and age. Females improved interpersonal competence more than males. Systems thinking competence improved for students associated with the three disciplinary affiliations considered in this study: sustainability major, sustainability minor and business major. Anticipatory competence improved for sustainability and business majors only, but not for students minoring in sustainability and majoring in other disciplines. Finally, normative competence improved for younger students only.

Research limitations/implications

Insights for teaching practice and overall program structure are based on assessment of one introductory transdisciplinary sustainability course. Much additional work is needed to draw strong conclusions about general teaching practices and program structure for sustainability education. This study provides a flexible and field-tested rubric for further evaluative work in other sustainability courses or degree programs.

Practical implications

Universities incorporate sustainability into their undergraduate curricula in many ways, ranging from certificates to entire degree programs focused on sustainability. The results of this study suggest that educators pay attention to gender diversity, classroom teaching practices, disciplinary perspectives and student attitudes and developmental stages as they figure out how to make sustainability part of undergraduate education. This information may help create more effective sustainability courses and academic programs, which may maintain the viability of current sustainability programs and promote the institutionalization of sustainability in higher education.

Originality/value

This research contributes to undergraduate sustainability education by providing insight into how sustainability education might thoughtfully be integrated into academic programs. It also offers an assessment approach for use by other sustainability educators to evaluate effectiveness of teaching practice and overall program structure based on five key sustainability competencies commonly cited in the literature.

Details

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, vol. 16 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1467-6370

Keywords

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Abstract

Details

Real Time Strategy: When Strategic Foresight Meets Artificial Intelligence
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78756-812-9

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Article
Publication date: 16 September 2013

Pavel Novácek

The aim of this paper is to discuss key factors of long-term (sustainable) development and prosperity. There are three basic guidelines that seek explanation: dependence

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to discuss key factors of long-term (sustainable) development and prosperity. There are three basic guidelines that seek explanation: dependence theory, the influence of geographical and environmental factors and cultural determinism. But there are perhaps three other important factors for successful development: education, caring for public space and future oriented thinking.

Design/methodology/approach

Why are some nations poor and some are rich? The answer might lie somewhere else other than in the known theories of development. Or rather, maybe every development theory has some truth in itself, but what we need is to create some inventive synthesis. To formulate such synthesis, calculation of future oriented thinking index can help us to understand better why some communities and nations are poor and some are rich. Perhaps future oriented thinking is the main key to prosperity and success.

Findings

If future oriented thinking is an important factor to prosperity and success, then an instrument is needed to measure it – the Future Oriented Thinking Index (FOTI). Future Oriented Thinking Index is by methodological approach close to the State of the Future Index (SOFI) developed by Theodore J. Gordon and the Millennium Project. But FOTI should focus more on identifying how people are able to take into account future challenges and behave according to them, less on “state of the future“ (measuring whether a situation will improve or deteriorate). Tentatively 23 indicators are proposed to calculate FOTI.

Originality/value

Many economists, environmentalists and other experts have long been cooperating in designing an alternative indicator to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) capable of better capturing the long-term development of society and not just economic performance in a narrow sense. Future Oriented Thinking Index calculated for individual countries as an arithmetical average of 23 selected variables (individual indicators, all available from publicly accessible sources) is a new approach to complement such indexes as the Gross Domestic Product, the Human Development Index, the Environmental Sustainability Index, or the State of the Future Index.

Details

Foresight, vol. 15 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

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Article
Publication date: 10 July 2017

Siu Loon Hoe

The purpose of this paper is to propose a holistic set of thinking or cognitive skills for professionals, managers, and executives to stay relevant in a digital economy.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose a holistic set of thinking or cognitive skills for professionals, managers, and executives to stay relevant in a digital economy.

Design/methodology/approach

The viewpoint is based on more than 20 years of experience gained working with multinational companies and public sector organizations across various industries in Asia.

Findings

To stay relevant in a digital economy, there is a need to develop a holistic set of cognitive skills such as design thinking, process thinking, systems thinking, futures thinking, and creative thinking that complements technical and people skills.

Research limitations/implications

The paper provides senior human resources practitioners with suggestions on a holistic set of thinking skills that complements technical and people skills to help manage organizational capabilities and develop talents to stay relevant in a digital economy.

Practical implications

The paper provides senior human resources practitioners with suggestions on a holistic set of thinking skills that complements technical and people skills to help manage organizational capabilities and develop talents to stay relevant in a digital economy.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the existing literature on human resource development by providing insights on a holistic set of thinking skills that are needed in a digital economy.

Details

Human Resource Management International Digest, vol. 25 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0967-0734

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2004

Ruth Kelly, Lorcan Sirr and John Ratcliffe

We are living in times of unprecedented global change and upheaval and over the next ten to 20 years governments, organisations and individuals will face increasing…

Abstract

We are living in times of unprecedented global change and upheaval and over the next ten to 20 years governments, organisations and individuals will face increasing difficulties in an environment of growing complexity, heightened uncertainty and a quickening pace of change. The concept of sustainable development implies the reconciliation of long‐term socio‐economic development, environmental protection and quality of life; essentially it is concerned with the future. Unfortunately, the potential for linking “futures thinking” to debates about sustainable development at local and regional government levels is relatively undeveloped, particularly in Ireland. Responding to this challenge, The Futures Academy at Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland, was established in January 2003 to provide both a research and consultancy forum for future‐proofing policies and strategies using the “prospective through scenarios” methodology. This paper describes the evolution of sustainable development in Ireland and the generic field of futures thinking, with particular focus on the prospective process which may assist key local policy makers and stakeholders move towards sustainable development for future generations in Ireland.

Details

Foresight, vol. 6 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 22 March 2021

Saija Toivonen

The purpose of this paper is to study the user experiences of the futures wheel method to investigate its suitability to advance futures thinking in the real estate field.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to study the user experiences of the futures wheel method to investigate its suitability to advance futures thinking in the real estate field.

Design/methodology/approach

The user experiences of the futures wheel method are investigated through questionnaire answers of 114 master’s level students and real estate experts taking part in future wheel workshops.

Findings

The futures wheel method could enhance future-oriented thinking and decision-making in the real estate field. The respondents see futures thinking as an important skill and recognize several advantages concerning the method.

Practical implications

The futures wheel method bears great potential to be used in the real estate sector and it could be a fruitful addition to the curriculums at different education levels in real estate studies.

Social implications

Futures thinking is essential when aiming for sustainable decisions in the real estate field which again would benefit the whole surrounding society.

Originality/value

This paper is the first published paper concentrating on the user experiences of the future wheel method in the real estate sector. The benefits and the disadvantages of the method are investigated but also the attitudes indicating the potential of the method to be successfully adopted in the field are analyzed.

Details

Journal of European Real Estate Research , vol. 14 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1753-9269

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Article
Publication date: 28 May 2019

Anthon P. Botha

The purpose of this paper is to address the possible future evolution of innovation from a human-only initiative, to human–machine co-innovation, to autonomous machine…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to address the possible future evolution of innovation from a human-only initiative, to human–machine co-innovation, to autonomous machine innovation and to arrive at a conceptual mind model that outlines the role of innovation regimes and innovation agents.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a concept paper where a theoretical “thought experiment” is done, using future thinking principles and data that originate from the literature.

Findings

A conceptual mind model is developed to facilitate a better understanding of complexity at the edge of innovation where intelligent machines will emerge as innovators of the cyber world. It was found that innovation will gradually evolve from a human-only activity, to human–machine co-innovation, to incidences of autonomous machine innovation, based on the growth of machine intelligence and the adoption of human–machine partnership management models in future.

Research limitations/implications

Very little information is available in the literature on intelligent machines doing innovation. The work is based on a theoretical approach that presents new concepts to be debated, but have not been tested in engineering and technology management practice, except for a conference presentation and academic discussion.

Practical implications

The current world view is that future “smartness” is only possible through the creative abilities that humans have, but as machines are entering the workplace and our daily lives, not only as static robots on a manufacturing line, but as intelligent systems with the potential to replace lawyers and accountants, doctors and teachers, companions and partners, their role in innovation in complex environments needs to be explored.

Social implications

Human–machine interaction is often an emotional social issue of concern in terms of the replacement of human intelligence with machine intelligence. It should be asked whether humans will or should remain in control of innovation? Artificial intelligence (AI) may complement and even substitute human intelligence, but huge value is embedded in the new goods, services and innovations AI will enable, especially in manufacturing, where value embedded in the project becomes complex and dynamic.

Originality/value

The thinking presented in this paper is original and should lead to debate to question the way innovation systems will work in future and inspires thinking about AI and innovation.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 30 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

Keywords

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