Innovation and Foresight

According to Kaplan (Walling, 2007) , one of the characteristics of a balanced organisation is learning and growth. They point out that some organisations include innovation as one of the measurable aspects of learning and growth.

Likewise with strategic foresight. As Vecchiato points out, Strategic Foresight is a learning practice “This learning process about the future is something that goes beyond the formal output of foresight practices and techniques”

Thus, the intentional practices of innovation and foresight are related. They both have to do with improvement, with insight, with looking ahead. They are related and relevant to organisations today as they both deal with change over the short, medium and long term.

Last year I undertook a lot of reading and reflection. One of the topics I was interested in was innovation. Of the books I read, the lessons from “Managing Innovation” (Tidd, Bessant, Pavitt. 2005) were typical. They pointed out that of the factors of trust and openness, challenge and involvement, support and the space for ideas, the space to have debate and to take risks, and a culture of freedom are all critical in causing innovation to flourish. That “managing innovation is about creating conditions in which successful resolution of multiple challenges under high levels of uncertainty is made more likely”

And so with Strategic Foresight. It is a strategic thinking process (Voros. 2003). The qualities of strategic thinking among other, are exploration, intuition, synthesis, disruptive. They are for creating options.

It can be seen then that Strategic Foresight is a process  for creating the options that feed into the innovation process. Thus it can be argued that an organisation that is open to innovation, is an organisation that would find foresight practices acceptable.

Further, Hines has a similar argument. He states that “since creativity and innovation are more palatable “inside”, I have often used them as cover for foresight tools and concepts”



Tidd, J. Bessant, J. Pavitt, K (2005). “Managing Innovation: Integrating Technological, Market and Organisational  Change”. John Wiley & Sons. West Sussex

Voros, J. (2003). “A generic foresight process framework”. Foresight, Vol 5 No 3, pp10-21

Walling, E. (2007). ”50 Management ideas you really need to know”. Quercus Publishing, London

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