There are many tools available, here are two that we find particularly useful
This tool connects what is happening today to what has happened in the past (how we got here) and possible futures. It enables a conversation that identifies different diverging paths that may emerge as a trend unfolds and helps people to make sense of what could happen. There are four steps:
- Looking to the past to see how trends emerged. This allows people to identify patterns, watershed moments and also to acknowledge that they have successfully dealt with all these changes, putting them in a position of strength to work on the future;
- Looking at the present (Horizon 1) to identify what the working assumptions in the business today are;
- Looking 30 or more years into the future – tomorrow ++ – (Horizons 3) to identify how pockets of the future occurring today might play out. What is emerging and new today that might become commonplace in the future;
- Looking at tomorrow + (Horizon 2) which is the bridge between the trends you discovered in Horizon 3 (tomorrow ++) and the current operating assumptions for how you run your business today. This is the space for innovation and creativity as you work out how to bridge from today to tomorrow ++; how you will adapt what you do today to address the challenges from the future (either for new opportunities or to mitigate risk).
This tool explores the impacts of a change going forward. You focus on a specific change and treat it as if it were here today. Then discover the primary impacts of that change, followed by secondary and tertiary impacts over time. It helps to widen out the discussion of unintended consequences and further explore the different paths a trend may follow and the consequences of that.
We use this tool to gain a deeper understanding of how trends may play out. It explores the consequences of changes we’ve identified might happen.