Generic Foresight Process Framework

There are many frameworks for using foresight methods in organisational strategy. Ultimately though, foresight is used to develop a view of the future relevant to your organisation’s context to inform decision making today.

Services provided by Thinking Futures are underpinned by the Generic Foresight Process Framework (Joseph Voros, A Generic Foresight Process Framework, 2003), shown in the following diagram.

 
 
 

This framework was developed in 2001 by Joseph Voros when we were working together at Swinburne University of Technology. Read more about its origins in the Foresight Primer.

There's more general information about the methods used in each phase:

  • Input Methods: getting the information about change that matters for your organisation,
  • Interpretive Methods: 
  • Analytic Methods:
  • Prospective Methods:

How I use the Generic Foresight Process Framework

I use this framework to design work in each the major stages of foresight infused strategy.  At its core the framework is divided into three phases:

  • seeing: identifying change shaping the organisation's future,
  • thinking: interpreting change to explore possible futures and proactive strategic responses,
  • doing: deciding on a preferred future and taking action to move towards that future.

Interpretation and Prospection are the spaces where futures thinking occurs in strategy development, and the space most often neglected in conventional strategy processes. This is not surprising in conventional strategic planning since these are people not process focuses spaces - but people think strategically not organisations.

The table below provides more detail about each phase in this framework and highlights primary questions, activity and example methods.

PhasePrimary QuestionsActivityForesight Method
See: InputWhat is happening out there?Identifying change in the external environment that has the potential to shape the future of your organisationEnvironmental Scanning using STEEP/VERGE
See: AnalysisWhat seems to be happening out there?Looking for patterns across the change you have identified, to seek out the change that matters for your organisationTrend Analysis/Three Horizons
Think: InterpretationWhat's really happening?Seeking to move below the surface, to seek a deeper understanding of change forces; this stage involves surfacing unquestioned assumptions and cognitive biases about change and how it might evolve and possible implicationsCausal Layered Analysis
Think: ProspectionWhat might happen?Purpose-fully looking forward to create forward views and exploring alternative futures – potential, possible, probably, plausible, preferred.Scenario Thinking
Do: OutputsWhat might we need to do?Identifying best-fit strategic optionsBackcasting
Do: StrategyWhat will we do? How will we do it?Agreeing on strategic action to take todayStrategic Planning

More information about each of the methods will be available shortly.