The last few months I've been focusing on getting my first ebook published: Foresight: a How-To Guide for Using Foresight in Practice. Which meant I didn't have much time for keeping up with my daily scanning and sharing. I kept posting but it was a bit random. I am back to my usual schedule so you should see me more often on social media.

So it seemed like a good time to reflect on what I scan and where I store my scanning and how you can access it.

1. What I Scan

Every day, I use Feedly to monitor changes I'm watching - I share some of those sources here. I try and keep my sources updated and include some that are - for me - weird sources to keep shaking up my brain.

I scan around the following areas:

  • Strategy Development: insights from leading thinkers in strategy development and implementation (#strategy on social media),
  • Strategic Foresight: insights around the practice of strategic foresight (#foresight on social media),
  • University Futures: insights about the change ecosystem in which universities exist (#unifutures on social media),
  • The Shifting Organisation: insights about changes to organisations, how they are managed, work and how they are changing (#organisations on social media),
  • Leadership: insights about new paradigms emerging about leadership in our organisations (#leadership on social media), and
  • Future Trends: emerging and weak signals about change in society that are likely to affect how we work and live (#trends on social media).

I also follow a whole lot of other people on social media who scan around different topics. It is impossible to stay in touch with all the change that's going on out there. Focusing on my areas of expertise is one step in my scanning, watching the scanning of other people is another step.

2. What I do with my Scanning Hits

When I find something I like, I share it on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and put it onto my scanning site on Shaping Tomorrow.

If you register for free on my scanning site, you have access to my scanning and the scanning of thousands of others on this crowdsourced scanning site. And you can use the site to store your scanning.

3. How I use my Scanning Hits

I send out a monthly newsletter that everyone who registers for my site will get free of charge. The newsletter has what I call 10 pithy items about change that matters for your organisation. The aim of the newsletter is to pique your interest about trends that are growing stronger to trigger thinking about what and when it might mean for your strategy.

I also use the site for my client work - preparing reports on change tailored to the particular organisation or industry.

I offer training to build scanning skills and work with individuals to coach them as they work to introduce scanning to their organisation.

4. Why I Scan

Exposing yourself to what's changing 'out there' does something to your brain. It opens your thinking up to what might be possible rather than what you think is possible based on your past and present experience. Of course you have to have an open mind to begin with to avoid rejecting information because it doesn't fit your existing understanding of the world.

I scan to stay in touch with change. The simple exercise of reading about change can trigger thinking that might lead you in a new direction, or it might reaffirm something that you have been considering. It also expands my horizons and introduces me to the new, the amazing and the plain weird. It's all essential when thinking about the future because remember there are no future facts - theoretically, anything is possible.

There is some more information about scanning here.

Get in touch if you want to find out more about scanning or - you can buy my book which has a chapter on how to do scanning from beginning to end.