What’s organizational success in working with the future?

May 14, 2013

Prof. Andy Hines, University of Houston, is working on this question and came up with a framework to measure what success in working with the future might look like. You can see his diagram here 

Andy, who is a former colleague of ours, has worked as a corporate futurist and knows first hand how important it is to achieve some measure of success in bringing the future, and foresight, into an organization.

Like much consulting, easily measured results are rare. Say, for example, how a change in thinking led to XXXX dollars saved in an adapted process, to a successful new product or service, or to a brighter future for the organization overall. All these outcomes are possible with foresight and critical thinking. They are rarely ascribed directly to the services of futurists.

In his approach, Prof. Hines has sorted out the aims and targets of foresight for the organization, and ascribed the services offered by futures practitioners to three stages of a decision-making process, learning, deciding and acting. As you might expect, futures practitioners deliver most of their expertise to the first two stages. In most organizations, only the results of acting, the third stage, are measured. So we don’t have a way to measure success yet. We do have a new tool to work with, thanks to Prof. Hines.

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