Strategic foresight consultants specialize in helping organizations anticipate and prepare for the future. Using proven foresight methodologies, they expand clients’ perspectives, identify upcoming shifts relevant to their industry, and provide recommendations to more effectively build future-ready strategies.

The first service competent foresight consultants provide is horizon scanning across an organization’s external environment. That spans systematically tracking advancements, trends, events and weak signals that may influence the client’s business as far as 20+ years out. For example, shifts in technologies, demographics, consumer behaviors, regulations, competitors and other external forces. Expert analysis makes sense of scatter plot information to determine likelihood and potential impact.

Next, consultants facilitate discovery of organizational blind spots, assumptions and biases that inhibit clear understanding of the external landscape. That can span running surveys, interviews or focus groups to reveal how trends are perceived across the enterprise. Getting perspectives beyond the C-Suite provides more diversity of thought on uncertain futures.

With an expansive view of the external world and clarity on internal views, consultants guide clients through exploratory scenario planning. It stretches thinking to consider varied plausible futures and “what-if” questions: What if disruptive innovation emerges from an unlikely competitor? What if a natural disaster disrupts global supply chains? Exploring multiple futures widens perspectives beyond obvious trends so emerging shifts get on the radar sooner.

And then strategic foresight consultants synthesize intelligence into strategic recommendations. This includes frameworks for tracking key indicators on the horizon as well as robust moves the organization can make today to get ahead of obstacles and capture future opportunities. Consultants provide an independent, external challenge to convention without the political baggage inherent inside large organizations.

The future belongs to those organizations with the leadership and culture able to spot, interpret and act on shifts while they are still emerging. Strategic foresight consultants are invaluable partners for building this capacity. Their outside-in perspective provides the vision and permission for business leaders to make bold long-range decisions in the face of uncertainty.