As a competitive intelligence practitioner – what does it mean to be future ready?
If I look at this question from a competitive intelligence (CI) perspective my response must provide options for actions for being future ready. So where to start?
Let me start with the original question itself.
- Does the question relate to individual future readiness or organisational future readiness?
- What are some critical uncertainties around the future that would impact anyone’s readiness?
- What are the assumptions or biases inherent in the question?
This means I need to be clear about these factors and any others facing the decision-maker before I drive through the plethora of information. And, talking about the plethora of information…. It is not just the information that is available on the internet or has been published that is important. When it comes to the future, it is vitally important to talk to people.
Yes, I know you can ask people on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for answers however I wonder how many people would really be capable of providing insightful comments to such a question?
This means we need to go out and seek answers from people who may have an idea of what any plausible future will look like.
From an organisational perspective, that could mean talking to academics, journalists, futurists, customers, suppliers, distributors to just name a few. Many of them may not have published their future intentions on the internet for you to find via a single simple search on Google! So let’s say I now have a lot of information at hand and am well informed about an array of possible futures. Does that make me future ready?
In my opinion, absolutely not! It does not answer either ‘so what does this all mean for me?’ nor does it tell me ‘now what should I be doing?’
We need to analyse the information in light of our current situation. Based on over 25 years of business experience, this is without a doubt one of the weakest steps that managers and individuals face. Analysis is the cornerstone for insights yet far too often we see summaries instead!! From an organisations perspective all the information needs to be analysed in context of the organisation’s capabilities, strengths, weaknesses, etc to identify the gaps it needs to address to be future ready, irrespective of the future that plays out.
Some suggested analytical techniques that would help here would include techniques such as
- Scenario Analysis
- Critical Success Factors
- Driving Forces Analysis
- even SWOT (done properly mind you – not the silly little four boxes!!).
Conducting a SWOT would be equally valid for an individual. The output of these techniques would identify options, opportunities, and threats that an organisation or individual could address to make itself future ready.
This approach would provide real insight, and outlines what should be done to best prepare for the future. To be future ready for me is not just about knowing what future may likely play out but about being prepared and alert to meet any future with the best possible advantage. What do you think?
If you would like assistance to become future ready – get in touch with MindShifts.
Babette Bensoussan is the CEO and founder of MindShifts and was appointed a Fellow of SCIP (Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Professionals). In 2006, she was the recipient of the SCIP Meritorious Award, which is the most prestigious award within the international CI community. As a qualified counsellor and MBTI practitioner, with certification as a business coach through the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching in the U.S.A, Babette is well placed to assist executives and organisations to improve their future performance and success both personally and professionally.