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Placing people at the center of Futures Design Organizations, whether private or public, should not only prepare for the future but seize it and make an impact. Combining futures and design thinking ensures the optimal process for sensing, sensemaking and seizing opportunities for new value creation. This is what we call Futures Fit capabilities.

Combine all below to seize the business opportunities of tomorrow

Strategic foresight enables serving the customers in the future

Insights are needed to serve the customer today

Hindsight alone gets your business nowhere

The next wave in traditional futures research and foresight is to place people as active players in operational contexts. That is, to apply human-centric design thinking. So far, organizations have scanned the PESTE environment: gathered signals, investigated trends and benchmarks, and created scenarios. By doing so, they end up with new opportunities provided by the operational environment. What they most likely miss is the deep understanding of people and their role in the opportunities. In the end, they lack the implementation power which is about people, not the environment.

Hindsight is needed to understand where the customers come from. However, making decisions based only on what once was won't guarantee that the customer's need are faced today.

Insights of the customer are needed, and this is where Design Thinking comes to play. Bear in mind though, that not only are the customers changing; so is the world around them.

Insights and foresight drive the actions of Future Fit organizations. Understanding how customers act today and how they act in the future, and taking action accordingly, is an advantage for any organization.

Consequently, the next wave of design thinking is futures. Tough design thinking places people at the center of investigation and focuses on latent needs with its multifaceted and innovation-oriented toolkit, the outcomes rely on observations based on what happens in today’s contexts. Designing Futures Fit solutions that are viable and desirable requires creating the whole story from hindsight, insights and foresight – creating and understanding the evolution of things that matter: identifying opportunities provided by people with their changing values, attitudes, behavior and practices.

 

The source of inspiration and innovation is people in their various contexts: pioneers, leading edge, extremes and experts. Indeed, people and especially communities are the sources for future opportunities, not the competitor analysis per se. People are developers, partners and competitors in today’s and, moreover, in tomorrow’s business environment. By harnessing the power of communities and co-creation, organizations can design their future together with people. Consequently they engage, enable and empower people through the process of co-creation. Though the future vision can be originated by experts the everyday and masses finalize the value creation roadmap towards the vision.

 

Not only the solutions but also problems are mostly social as everything is interconnected. This relates to micro and macro levels, and calls for a new kind of co-operation between people, private and public (3P) actors. The direction of solving wicked problems and social issues is the same as what companies are doing in a transition and transformation phase: creating new value networks, making agile prototypes and piloting potential Futures Fit solutions.

 

People are influenced by various stakeholders and gate-keepers in the service ecology and in value creation practices. Understanding the changes in related systems, processes, practices, motivations, values and roles of people is vital in taking the step forward to become a partner in customer’s life. Futures Fit solution design is ultimately based on 3P co-creation, systems thinking, shared understanding and resilient operations. All designed to serve a common purpose and goals among value network partners – or to find common focus and targets in the midst of change and future opportunities.

Take-aways

Cornerstones of the new opportunity identification process and business resilience are “sensing – sensemaking – seizing” capabilities supported by futures and design thinking.

New value creation requires taking a leap from engaging customers into the organisation’s processes to empowering customers to co-create novel and meaningful value.

Futures Fit solutions are designed based on context and customer “hindsight – insight – foresight” and requires organisational culture and capability design.

Authors:

Anu Nousiainen

Minna Koskelo

Freelance Designer

Freelance Designer