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Continuing Foresight Thinking Past the Front End

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Hello from the Back End of Innovation conference,
2015. 
These tips come from a workshop led by Tamara Carleton, Innovation
Leadership Board, LLC.
This session focuses on strategic foresight, which is the
ability to build the future we envision
.
Strategic foresight is based on choices made today intended
to influence future action. The goal is to lesson ambiguity with a mix of
mindset and foresight. The reason is that the early decisions in any
undertaking impact the actions you take.
So, what is the process, what are the steps?
Foresight in Action
1: Build relationships as you build your ideas.
Ms. Carleton introduced the Crowd Clover, an exercise to
help identify the social network that map out the people who help us succeed.
It asks who are the catalysts, connectors, promoters, and enablers.
Identify mas many as possible, and then mark the ones that
are either formal or informal relationships.
You can do this exercise on the individual, project, team,
divisional, or organizational level.
The key learning is that you realize your strengths and
blind spots in areas where people capital can be integral for success.
Foresight in Action
2: Excite current and new champions with a vision.
This tool is a version of an elevator pitch. It is a Vision
Statement whose goal is to get the story down to essentials and convey the key
points of value. This vision helps others create a mental picture of the impact
and value of this project. The drafting process works like Mad Libs. You fill
in the blanks:
Our Vision is to ________________________________.
It was impossible until today because
_________________________________.
The timing is now right to
______________________________________.
Precedents of this idea include
____________________________, __________________________.
By working with our partners
________________________________________ we will make this vision real in
_________months.
Today, we're beginning this journey by
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________.
Foresight in Action
3: Help others see what is coming next
This tool is a version of the Quad chart. It is called a
NewCo Four-Up, which summarizes the essence of your plan according to the
promotion of the concept, the strategy, the competitive advantages, and the
path of change. So, at this end of this exercise you have defined the What,
Where, Why, and How as a working definition.
A quick exercise proved that this process is exceedingly both
descriptive and generative.
Foresight in Action
4: Practice Receiving Ideas
This tool is a practice in simply sharing and socializing
ideas and getting feedback.
This practice of storytelling keeps you sharp and attuned to
your audience and how well your communication is being received, more
important, how well you listen and receive feedback.
Think of these as Buddy Checks. Have everyone on the team
practice these Buddy Check storytelling and turn them into project evangelists
and good listeners.
The idea here is not to sell a pitch, but to communicate,
and to learn and refine the story arc by receiving valuable feedback.

Michael Graber is the
managing partner of the Southern Growth Studio, an innovation and strategic
growth firm based in Memphis, TN. Visit
www.southerngrowthstudio.com to learn more.

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