Learning to use the future: Developing foresight capabilities through scenario processes

  • Rhisiart M
  • Miller R
  • Brooks S
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Organizational learning is one type of value created by scenarios and strategic foresight within companies. However, relatively little attention has been devoted to what and how individuals - such as managers and strategists - learn from participation within strategic scenario processes. The paper focuses on the learning effects of scenario processes on participants, using the Futures Literacy Hybrid Strategic Scenario (FL HSS) method. It presents an evaluative framework for capturing the learning and cognitive effects of using the imaginary future, and the learning benefits derived by participants in intensive scenario processes. The paper outlines how scenario activities change the capabilities of the individuals and organizational systems to understand the nature and role of the future for what they perceive and what they do. Cognition is the domain of the individual rather than the organization and, as a result, the micro processes through which individuals learn and challenge mental models appear to be antecedent resources to collective mental model changes within organizations. This suggests that companies should invest in pedagogically rich scenario processes that develop the capability of managers to sense changes. The learning generated by scenario processes can strengthen the 'sensing' dynamic capabilities of firms.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Learning
  • Scenarios
  • Strategic foresight

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  • Martin Rhisiart

  • Riel Miller

  • Simon Brooks

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