Around the 1980s, organizations had to adapt their management and business models to respond and react to the spread of personal computers. Not much later, in the 1990s, the adoption of the Internet forced them to redefine their strategies once more. Nowadays, the emergence and expansion of social networks, cloud services, and artificial intelligence, among others, are leading organizations to transform themselves again. These changes occur faster and faster and with extended impact. Therefore, organizations must train their adaptation, reaction, and anticipation capacity to face the constant changes occurring around them. How can we achieve this?
There are no magical recipes to know what will happen, but it is possible to foresee it using prospective and exploratory evidence about future scenarios. It involves making plans and imagining scenarios based on evidence about potential signals of change in early development stages. Having a methodology to guide us certainly helps us work in an organized and systematic manner.
At Co_Lab, we explore, map, and experiment to build knowledge and accelerate development. Particularly, we developed a method to explore future scenarios as part of our exploration. It consists of a divergence and convergence stages and uses foresight analysis and horizon scanning concepts.
Divergence is about being perceptive to a broad range of potential signals of change and finding their characteristics using large volumes of information. On the other hand, during the convergence stage, we select and refine our analysis according to the degree of relevance of the issues. Finally, we visualize these signals in the form of cards, which makes it easy to make strategic decisions based on possible future scenarios. Using this methodology, at Co_Lab, we identified more than 50 signals of change for the development of Argentina by 2030.
The times we live are becoming more complex, uncertain, and ambiguous, which results in future scenarios that are difficult to foresee. Hence the importance of having tools and guides to help us anticipate these forces of change. Anyone interested in the subject can learn about Co-Lab´s methodology through our work, Exploring futures. A guide to driving change, foreseeing trends . We hope this guide will help all organizations or teams that decide to act proactively to potential futures and contribute to creating resilient and innovative organizations.
The co-authors of this blog post are Micaela Zapata, intern at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Argentina, and Matías Acosta, Head of Exploration at the UNPD Laboratory in Argentina.