What “Future-ready” means for an organization
The expression “future-readiness” can mean different things depending on the practitioner using it.
If you talk to a prospectivist or a futurist, this expression will describe the state of an organization that has done the work of foresight or anticipation in order to determine its preferred future; this future will animate it and allow it to better direct its actions in the present so that this future or its best version comes true.
In conversation with people involved in enterprise risk management, we had the opportunity to discuss the meaning of the term “future-readiness” in relation to our respective activity, prospective planning and risk management.
Following this conversation, I did a little deeper research to get a clearer idea of what “future-ready” means in its broader sense. Future-ready has more than one meaning and I encourage you to explore them.
In our era of rapid change and uncertainty, future preparation has become more crucial than ever. This involves not only anticipating and preparing for what may happen, but also actively shaping and creating the future we desire.
In this post, I distinguish between different states of “future-ready” and then discuss the emergence of scores and indicators developed by two distinct organizations.
The future of the prospectivist and the future of the manager
The future of the prospectivist
This future is what we can call the “designed” future or the one that we have chosen following our work with the prospective approach. This preferred future is what we could also call the “determined” future of the organization. This future to be created is designed from the external elements of the company as the psychologist Daniel Kahneman, author of “Thinking fast and slow“, suggests: move away from what we know to open up to alternatives that can be not only radically different but also superior to what is done. In this sense, this kind of future ensures the continuity of the company in the future.
The future of the manager
This future is one that I called the “received” future. It is this residual and undetermined future by our prospective approach so it is all the rest of the future that can happen including the known risks and those which are not. This kind of future is the one we are preparing for in order to eventually manage it with agility. This prevention, preparation and response activity is carried out using the organization’s internal resources; how the company will react, respond, adapt, etc.
How to best navigate these futures
1. Cultivate a proactive mindset
Preparing for the future begins with cultivating a proactive mindset, characterized by a sense of agency (free will) and a belief in our ability to influence outcomes. Instead of passively reacting to circumstances, we can actively engage with the world around us. This mindset allows us to identify emerging trends, anticipate potential challenges and seize growth opportunities.
2. Adopt prospective planning
Forward planning is the cornerstone of preparing for the future. This involves setting clear goals, envisioning future scenarios, and outlining the steps needed to achieve the desired results. This planning will also have the effect of enriching the preventive aspect of our preparation by broadening the scope of the information that feeds it. Creating the future you desire often requires embracing innovation and unlocking your creative potential. Challenge conventional thinking, explore new possibilities and seek innovative solutions to existing problems. Embrace experimentation, learn from failure, and stay open to unexpected avenues that can lead to breakthroughs.
3. Develop adaptability and resiliency
The future is inherently uncertain and unforeseen disruptions are inevitable. To successfully meet these challenges, it is crucial to develop adaptability and resilience. This involves embracing change, cultivating a growth mindset, and honing transferable skills across different fields. By being open to new ideas, learning from failures, and developing a versatile skill set, we can respond effectively to unexpected events and thrive in uncertainty.
4. Foster a culture of learning
Become a learning organization. Continuous learning and knowledge acquisition are an integral part of future preparation. The pace of technological advancement and social change demands that we remain informed and agile. Actively seek learning opportunities, whether through formal education, professional development programs, or self-directed learning. Show curiosity, engage in interdisciplinary exploration, and stay informed about emerging trends to stay ahead of the curve.
5. Building strong networks and collaborations
The future is complex and interconnected, which makes strong networks and collaborations invaluable assets. Surrounding yourself with diverse perspectives, expertise and experiences can broaden your understanding and offer unique perspectives. Actively engage with communities, professional networks and mentoring programs to foster meaningful connections that can support your growth and provide access to new opportunities.
THE FUTURE IS COMPLEX AND INTERCONNECTED, WHICH MAKES STRONG NETWORKS AND COLLABORATIONS ARE PRICELESS ASSETS.
The emergence of the score and the indicator
To help organizations prepare for the future, some individuals and organizations have created the following scores and indicators:
The Future-Readiness Score
The Future-Readiness Score (FRS) developed by Ian Khan helps organizations understand where they stand with respect to business readiness in 8 key areas of business impact going forward. The FRS is a scientifically-backed research-based methodology developed to help understand key measures of success for the organization and to help identify metrics that will make you more ready for a disruptive, technology-driven future.
The 8 key domains are :
- Value creation
The Future Readiness Indicator
Industry rankings go beyond leadership assessments and business performance analysis and are instead based on other determining factors.
The indicator proposes 7 factors:
- Financial fundamentals
- Investors’ expectations of future growth
- Business diversity
- Employee diversity/ESG
- Research & Development
- Early results of innovation efforts, and
- Cash and debt
Future preparation is a fairly broad idea that is not exclusive to risks, preventative management or prospective planning. It is in fact rather the fusion of several methods which allow an organization to build resilience and also to take steps towards antifragility so that it can grow following external shocks rather than simply recover.
Considering what “ready for the future” means from all sides, I believe that foresight practitioners are in a privileged position to help organizational leaders get a better idea of the future, which allows them to enrich their efforts, whether in the design of their future or in its prevention, by developing intervention tools better suited to today’s needs.
To your success !
If you have questions or would like to initiate one of our solutions, do not hesitate de contact us so we can have a guiding conversation. We are here to help you.
Space intentionally left for the future.