A LITTLE HISTORY
Seven years ago, UPLAND delivered its first DisruptorID report when the CEO of an established wellness brand was looking to strengthen the organization’s corporate strategy efforts and believed that a Strategic Foresight approach would best enable his organization to set its 5-year strategic planning cycle up for success. Specifically, this client requested a robust study of critical movements in the organization’s broader ecosystem to identify the most significant forward-looking external impact areas to the organization and the categories it competes within.
While Foresight and Insight work had always powered our Growth Strategy engagements, this project was the first deliverable where Foresight laid the foundation and guided all of our efforts. Over 40 bespoke DisruptorID reports later, a fair amount of which are now part of repeat programs with clients, we continue to put Foresight at the forefront of our work. We believe in the power of Strategic Foresight, so much so that we rebranded the firm in 2022 to UPLAND and transitioned our models, approach, and methods. This intentional transition enabled us to formally become a Foresight-led Strategic Growth Consultancy. And, I became our Head of Foresight, a role the firm established to have constant focus on Foresight frameworks, training, intelligence, and models that would fuel the UPLAND way.
WHAT IS STRATEGIC FORESIGHT
In my simplest way of describing it, Foresight is an enduring exploration. How the exploring is done varies from practitioner to practitioner and firm to firm. There is no one right way to Foresight, which is the beauty of it.
I have digested most Foresight publications, spoken to some of the field of work’s most prominent experts and researchers, undergone various trainings and certifications and yet, my opinion of the best definition of Strategic Foresight remains the OECD’s concise distillation:
WHY DO WE BELIEVE IN IT
Well, now we have proof. Though we didn’t always.
Before developing a body of work, mastering (and yet continuing to evolve) our methods, and having enough cases to showcase how our DisruptorID linked to movements that linked to future opportunities that came to fruition for our clients, we firmly believed that disruption starts with small signals. Because Foresight involves having an insatiable curiosity around signals, mapping and tracking those signals, and interpreting the various potential manifestions of them, we believed in the power of Foresight to help companies navigate all the disruption. And, let me just get this out of the way. I don’t hate the word disruption, as so very many people I speak with seem to. I believe it is the best way to summarize what happens when an emerging company enters the market and completely changes the frame of reference of an industry or what happens when an established companies launches a technology that changes the way millions of people live their lives in a few months time.
Now, armed with numerous examples of clients who have pursued innovations, M&A, resource allocation / reallocation, rebranding, new brand-building, and other strategies given the outputs of our work, we believe it because we have witnessed its power firsthand.
JUST THE BEGINNING
I am still rather new to the field. But I also don’t believe that one has to be working in a field for 20+ years to have a voice on the matter. This is a conversation, and I do hope you will engage. I sincerely hope Forthcoming finds a small way to shape your future.