EARLY WARNING SYSTEM
Background: The company in question was faced with a number of important strategic choices for a product and its CEO was unsure what path to take, given the large number of uncertainties looming on the horizon.
Objectives and Results: The reduction of uncertainty as well as a better understanding of decision-making and its consequences were the main objectives. The whole process was kicked off with interviews with all of the main actors involved, as well as some outside experts. The interview material was fed back to the management team by means of a document listing a series of quotes grouped according to topic, but which were not attributed to any individual. The futures methods then used included developing: industry trend graphs on the projected evolution of markets related to their product; a vision for imagining the ideal future; wild cards (“high impact, low probability” events); and an Early Warning System. An important part of the project management here was the choice of outside content experts so as to ensure that thinking was not constricted to “business as usual”. The Early Warning System established has already produced a number of “hits” which have allowed the company to anticipate some of market changes they foresaw, and to act accordingly.