Working with you to design foresight approaches for your organisation

The scenarios have been a very important contribution to our strategic planning. We have enjoyed the association with Maree, whose work has been of a very high standard indeed and delivered, under pressure, in a timely manner.
— Professor Chris Cocklin, James Cook University

Why work with me?

First, the depth of my experience. I have worked since 1999 with people in numerous organisations in Australia and overseas to help them use foresight in practice. I am recognised as a leading foresight practitioner globally and I was named as one of the world’s top six women futurists in 2016. I regularly publish and present on using foresight in practice and I bring a process to you that has been refined and made practical since 1999.

Second, I am a practitioner first and foremost. My mission is to collaborate to see foresight approaches used routinely in organisations. My work with you is therefore about providing you with the knowledge and skills you need to use foresight in your organisation forever. My book is written to help people new to foresight to use it in their organisations. And if you need help doing that, get in touch.

Third, I personalise my work - with me, you don’t get ‘one size fits all’. You get a personalised service, designed with you to fit your organisation, in your context, for your challenges. I don’t bring predetermined models and frameworks. We design what works for you.

 

Process is important to a developing a successful strategy and I have a strong framework to frame my process design (Figure 1). What is as important as the process for me is the people in the room with me. We all hold images, hopes and fears about the future in our minds that shape how we make sense of the future, and that enable and constrain what we believe to be possible. It’s our unquestioned assumptions about the future that I help people surface and challenge through my processes so people can see the world in more expansive ways, interpreting what’s happening more critically and working more collaboratively to ensure their organisations are futures ready. A fundamental focus on helping people in the room face the future is as, if not more, important if we are to achieve strategic outcomes that create organisational capacity to become futures ready.

 

The need to shift mindsets to think in new ways about the future is not necessarily unique to Thinking Futures but there are not all that many of us in the field globally that have this overt combination of process and people at the core of what we do. The value my training and experience brings to you is in helping your people recognise their foresight agency – that they can use the future today and engage with it, not just observe it, to use it today instead of trying to predict it. Our actions and inaction today create our futures, and I help you base those actions on an integration of the past, present and future so you can be futures ready.

Maree was clearly expert ... she was open and honest in her dealings with us and provided excellent reference material and support to questions ... I admire Maree’s ability to distill data into manageable units and draw order from the chaos.
— Michelle Hayward, Kangan Institute
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A highly positive experience - it was a pleasure to work with a consultant who was always looking to value add what they had promised to deliver.
— Belinda Wright, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestries

how I Work

I work with individuals and small groups to help them create the capacity to have conversations about the future. These are strategic conversations - the four types of conversations need to become futures ready.

I'm selective about who I collaborate with, as you should be, and I don't do 'conventional' consulting. I'm not the expert consultant who comes in with a model or fixed methods that promise quick solutions and answers. I work with you to design a process that suits your context, the outcomes you need and helps you use your foresight agency.

There are no quick fixes when it comes to preparing for the future. If you think money will buy you the right answer or believe you don't have time to think about the future, you need to look for help elsewhere.

What I Do

I help people surface their individual foresight capacity, their ability to think about the future today and to collectively use the insights gained in ways that help their organisations become futures ready.

I help people explore and understand the value of an integral approach to thinking about the future that connects people with process rather than conventional, limited strategic planning processes.

I help people who are serious about spending time to recognise they have agency when it comes to the future, that their ability to shape the future today in the face of complexity and uncertainty is real, and who recognise the need to think in terms of multiple pathways to the future.

Thinking Futures was flexible and adaptive in altering the scope of the work as we moved forward - this was very helpful.
— Project Manager, Making VU, Victoria University of Technology

How We Work Together

I can work with you in two ways that are essentially organisational learning and development opportunities. The first is working with individuals; the second is working with small groups (around 5-10 people).

Our work has the following elements: first, talking together to find out your issues, your challenges, your ideas about the future. Then, we collaborate to design the best process to increase capacity and how to do that. We draw on an integral frame and foresight methods to do this. Whatever emerges is designed just for you and your context.

We work together in whatever way works for you. It might means face to face meetings, phone calls, prototyping ideas with you, doing a strategy project, reviewing reports ... whatever works. The toolbox to do this sort of work is big, so we personalise an approach that can be used when you need it in your work.

At the core of what we do will be rich conversations, learning from each other to create the capacity you need to be futures ready in your thinking and in your work.

Maree’s deep knowledge of the University sector and understanding of trends in libraries was particularly useful, including her contribution to the environmental scanning phase. Her facilitation of the process and final presentation of the report was professional and achieved a good outcome that I was looking for.
— Philip Kent, Swinburne University of Technology

Ready?

Typical comments regarding your session were thought provoking, stimulating, and allowed for lateral thinking (especially in the workshop session).
— Feedback from organisers after ITPNZ Conference Keynote, 2005

If this sounds like I can help you start using foresight in your organisation, you can fill out the form to organise a time to talk. You can also book a Hangout call so we can talk that way.  I look forward to hearing from you when you are ready. I'll reply within 24 hours.

 
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