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Planning Strategic Foresight People and Organizations NeedPhD Model Answer

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¶ … Planning

Strategic foresight

People and organizations need a strategic foresight plan and warning model to establish a framework for strategic success. This framework may incorporate a lot of factors including a strategic vision for the future that stipulates what a person or organization is doing. This would basically define why institutions exist and each member involved in the organization should be able to identify with the vision because strategic foresight and warning models are basically a people's process (Bolt 2005). A scenario plan provides a mechanism to which people, institutions or organizations can better cope with uncertainties. There is always a constant diversity in the environment and dynamics that are difficult to predict which necessitates this process.

Many traditional forms of management tend to concentrate on individual aspects of the uncertain environment and are there fore doomed to fail (Schwartz 1996). This therefore creates the need for development of complex systems to deal with the uncertainties in the environment. It is also very difficult to come up with precise decisions in the event of an unseen problem; therefore institutions, organizations and people need to unlearn the idea that there is only one predictable future. In relation they ought to come up with options that help in calculating how influencing factors will be formed (Schwartz 1996)

In the past, institutions only used to focus on liquidity and success. This was more of a short-term focus for institutions and organizations; not much emphasis was given to the long-term implication of important decisions. For example the post war period in the 1970's that was characterized by oil crises, made organizations realize that they could no longer afford to be focused on short-term objectives. They discovered that they had to factor in necessary structures for future success as well. The sooner world institutions identify models for future success and effectively develop them, the greater their success is bound to soar in future (Wilber 2001). A strategic forecast and oversight model is therefore a prerequisite for success in a turbulent environmental scenario characterized by uncertainties.

Steps to building a successful Model

Scenario Preparation

The main focus of a strategic foresight and warning model would be to support institutional decisions. This process is however specific, for instance a particular enterprise or technology. Questions could be asked under the model for example, for a technology, what solutions mechanisms should be adopted? Or for a product, the questions that could be posed by the model would be what requirements would the product be required to meet? These factors actually lie squarely at the center of the scenario management process. Before an institution embarks on formulation of a scenario view, the current environment should be effectively analyzed (Slaughter 2004).Conventional management tools could be used in this first phase such as strength or weakness profiles. Portfolio management could also be used in the analysis of the environment. In a state example, the technological environment will have to be analyzed if a country wants to come up with security policies because technology dictates the level of development of various military weapons. This is the base to which the scenario foresight and warning plan will be built on.

Scenario Field Analysis

The scenario field with then be analyzed according to different decision making processes. There may be a number of issues that would be addressed by the model depending on the nature of the institution, but for a state or country, the scenario plan would be probably mapped in terms of Security, global warming or even Trade policies. This process can however be supported through various process including brainstorming or brain writing. Caution should however be made in regard to the influencing factors from the general environment. Only those factors that are key at influencing the specific field for example National Security should be considered. If too many factors are considered, it might lead to a situation where the model becomes blurred.

Scenario Prognostics

At this point, the actual scenario is formulated. An insight should be made by the body involved, into the future position it expects to take. The time in the future should also be described by the institution for example; a country would expect to be free from the effects of environmental degradation through use of fossil fuels by adopting "green energy" by the year 2030. Institutions should then come up with possible projection means to enable them realize the goal. They should be able to come up with not only one, but plausible images that would enable the scenario plan to be able to take advantage of opportunities that may exist in the environment (World Economic Forum 2010)

Scenario development

Scenarios are a depiction of a possible future situation and basically rely on projections that would enable the future goal to be attained. The scenario blocks should be based on consistent scenario analysis. The projections should then be analyzed in a matrix to evaluate their co relation and ability to influence each other to attain the desired outcomes. Projections that show inconsistencies should be eliminated at this point. It will then reduce the possible projections to a few plausible contributors that will aid in attainment of the objectives. From this point, cluster analysis could be used to assign the projections to possible facets of importance to the institutions, like security. However, each cluster is characterized to experience loss of information when they are bundled up. These pre-scenarios should be able to be analyzed differently. Projections that are consistent with a scenario cluster are used in the definition of each cluster. For instance, the airline policies might directly affect the security situation of a country and therefore will be clustered under security cluster.

Scenario Transfer

The use of scenarios in institutions like the state actually stem from the influence they have on governance. As states train to use the scenario planning model, they become accustomed into recognizing which events are unfolding. This then helps in avoiding unpleasant surprises by knowing how to handle various situations. For example, the warning by FBI agents on growing Al Qaeda activities would have helped America avert September 11th attacks if it knew how to act on the information provided. After a careful analysis of the scenario, institutions should be able to come up with effective strategic foresight and warning models. Possible outcomes that govern the strategies to be formulated include:

Planning oriented forecast

This would basically rely on the fact that various environmental elements can be forecasted. In light of this theory, strategic bodies do not have to wait for the forthcoming eventualities; they would act according to expected results.

Preventive strategy

In this type of strategy, the institutions would probably be reacting to environmental changes. Uncertainty could be tolerated in this case and the next step would be to cope with the new situation.

Proactive forecast

This would entail acceptance that various elements in the organization are unpredictable and the best method the organization or institutions could use, would be to act ahead of time so that they may exploit the situation before it occurs. This is also achieved through shaping the environment in a certain way to avoid occurrences of unwanted events. Organizations or institutions could nevertheless purposefully doctor the environment to bring about desirable changes that would have otherwise never occurred or would have happened at a later date (Henderson 1996).



The input would be used in analyzing the environment. States could use simple structured questions to gather the correct information from respondents if the matter was of a small magnitude. Other secondary statistical data could be used for an issue of a large magnitude (Inayatullah 2005)

Analytical Methods

A time series data can be used to project future occurrences and possibilities. This can be mapped out in form of graph as a quantitative technique. A good quantitative technique to be used in the formulation of this model would be to analyze existing theories about the subject area. It also seeks to test assumptions and understand the nature of the system (Inayatullah 2005).

Paradigmatic methods

Causal layered analysis can be used to effectively dig deep into environmental issues as compared to empirical technique which is shallow in nature. However, empirical future works to analyze world trends and processes (Inayatullah 2005).

Iterative and Exploratory Methods

These methods allows for a significant definition of future states or strategies that are yet to be formulated. The art of scenario building could prove quite beneficial in trying to explore the factors that are in play before developing the model. However, before a good scenario is built, significant preparations need to be done (Inayatullah 2005).

Arguments for Strategic Forecast and Warning Models

Scenario planning usually starts in slow gradual steps but pick up to become core pillars of various institutions, including businesses, organizations and governmental bodies. Strategic forecast and warning has various functions including

Decisions support

Important decisions regarding policy making can be effectively aided by strategic foresight management to come up with viable decisions or programs that could steer a… [END OF PREVIEW]

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