Foresight Theory

The following Strategic Foresight models deal with  analysis and interpretation as well as theoretical constructs about the future.

These constructs and models can be classified and summarised as follows:

Theoretical Constructs about the Future

“Alternate Futures”, Voros

Casting our mind forward we can see an increasing scope potential outcomes. These range from “The Projected Future” (business as usual), to “Probable” (things likely to happen on current trends), to “Plausible” (what could happen based on current knowledge), to finally “Possible” (what might happen based on future knowledge).

“Dators Three Laws”, Dator

1. The future cannot be studied because the future does not exist. 2. Any truly useful idea about the future should appear ridiculous. 3. We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us.

“Futures Triangle”, Inayatullah

This model maps three competing dimensions of the future. The “Pull” or the compelling arguments to attract you to progress. The “Push” or the factors out of your control the force your forward momentum. The “Weight”  or the matters that are holding you back.

“Strategic Landscape”, Tibbs

A view of the future depicted as a journey through the chessboard of issues and challenges toward the mountain of hoped for achievement. With the journey based on our inherent values with the enduring vision of our role as guidance.

Input Models

“Scanning Modes”, Choo

“environmental scanning is the acquisition and use of information about events, trends and relationships in an organisation’s external environment”. (Choo) Where this external environment is either the market that the organisation operates in, the industry that it is a part of, or the broader macro environment.

Analysis Models

“Cross Impact Analysis”, Gordon

An approach that weighs, in terms of probability, the likely impact of a set related events upon each other.

“Emerging Issues”, Molitor

A three stage, or 22-step, approach that is used to analyse the lifecycle of an issue.

“TIMN Framework”, Roenfeldt

Is a way of classifying the forms of societal development from tribes, to institutions, markets and networks.

“Power of Pull”, Hagel, Seely, Brown, Davison

Is used to analyse the impact that an idea can have in terms of its participation in knowledge flows.

Interpretation Models

“Causal Layered Analysis”, Inayatullah

An approach where layers of depth are used to interpret phenomena. These layers are the “Litany” (trends and events), “Social Causes” (factors), “Worldview” (structures and assumptions), “Metaphors” (archetypes and symbols)

“Integral Theory”, Wilber

An approach that uses four basic frames of reference to interpret phenomena. These frames of reference are the “I” (interior and individual), the “We” (interior and collective), the “Its” (exterior and collective),  and the “Its” (exterior and individual)

“Spiral Dynamics”, Beck and Cowan

An approach that explores the characteristics of human development. It is a two tier colour-coded path of development. Tier one colours are: “Beige” (archaic-instinctive), “Purple” (animistic-tribalistic), “Red” (egocentric-exploitive), “Blue” (absolutist-obedience), “Orange” (multiplistic-achievist), “Green” (relativistic-personalistic). Tier two colours are: “Yellow” (systemic-integrative) and “Turquoise” (Holistic)

“Systems Thinking”, Meadows

An approach where the relationships in terms of stocks and flows between the component parts of a system are explored.

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