Strong future orientation helps organisations make better decisions

Article
Minna Halonen

The rapidly changing operating environment challenges organisations to actively and systematically imagine possible future development paths. VTT's foresight training provides organisations with foresight capabilities to create better strategies, products and services.

Why is it important to strengthen your organisation's foresight capabilities?

As our operating environment constantly changes and becomes increasingly complex, the role of foresight in the strategic and innovation activities of organisations is needs to be strengthened. Foresight refers to organised activities that address the future and produce an understanding of alternative futures and the development paths leading to them. At its best, foresight is a participatory process in which people learn together and create a shared understanding of the futures. 

Foresight provides measured benefits for the organisation's financial performance. According to data, future-prepared companies are 33% more profitable than the average (Rohrbeck & Kum 2018). Companies investing in foresight find the decision-making environment less complex and are able to examine their own organisation as part of broader development (Buder 2021). 

Forerunner organisations focus on developing their own foresight competence and operating models to ensure their competitiveness in a rapidly changing world. Foresight is typically more successful when a broad group of people with different perspectives take part in the process. 

"Engaging employees in foresight work has been identified as a key development focus in Finnish companies. This is supported by a recent study by Boardman and Aalto University. Organisations should take advantage of this untapped potential”, says VTT Senior Scientist and Foresight Trainer Sofi Kurki.

"In foresight work, it is essential to create a confidential and relaxed atmosphere that encourages staff to share their tacit knowledge and views of the future”, says VTT Senior Scientist and Foresight Trainer Jouko Myllyoja.

VTT foresight training strengthens the future competence of organisations

VTT's foresight training strengthens the organisation's anticipation competence by providing participants with capabilities to utilise foresight in a versatile way in their own work and organisation. In the training, the participants familiarise themselves with the special features of information about the future and with key methods of foresight, such as examining the operating environment, interpreting the drivers of change, and scenario work. The training also consists of practical work about the learned topics. The training is an inspiring and creative learning process consisting of lectures and individual and small group assignments. Learning by doing is an important part of the training.

Foresight training example

VTT's foresight training can be implemented online, face-to-face and as a combination of these. In the training, we strive for an open and inspiring atmosphere in which you can ask and make mistakes. Each training is tailored to the capabilities and needs of individuals and organisations.

"Foresight does not work in a vacuum but must be linked to different functions in the organisation. A stronger future orientation helps organisations to make better strategies, products and services that take future customers into account, and, for example, recruitment decisions that acknowledge future competence requirements,” says VVT Research Scientist and Foresight Trainer Pauli Komonen

VTT’s foresight experts have extensive experience of foresight in applied private and public sector projects as well as in domestic and international research projects. We provide our customers with tools for wide-ranging utilisation and application of foresight in their own organisations.

The Finnish Tax Administration strengthened its foresight competence through VTT training

The Tax Administration identified the need to strengthen the competence of its employees involved in future foresight. In spring 2021, VTT implemented a three-day training for the Tax Administration on future-oriented thinking and concepts, foresight methods and practical application. The training strengthened the overall awareness of the importance of foresight within the organisation.

Read about the foresight training implemented by VTT for the Tax Administration 

Sources

Boardman and Aalto University (2021): Ennakointi yritysten päätöksenteossa (Foresight in company decision-making).

Buder, Fabian (2021): The Value of Foresight in a VUCA World: Results from a Survey of Organizational Foresight Capacity.

Rohrbeck, R., & Kum, M. E. (2018). Corporate foresight and its impact on firm performance: A longitudinal analysis. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 129, 105-116.

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Ari Jussila

Ari Jussila

Solution Sales Lead
Minna Halonen

Minna Halonen

Research Scientist