Track 5.g Introduction: Design with Foresight: Strategic Anticipation in Design Research
Global changes in the 21st century appear intractable as social, technological and environmental trends force the contemporary organization to address these uncertainties in vision and strategic direction. Enterprises across nearly all sectors of the globalized economy must adapt competitive strategies to anticipate specific political, resource, and market uncertainties that could impact expected growth and broader social benefits. Yet the inclusion of strategic foresight within system, product and service design projects has yet to reach its potential in business enterprises.
Given the uncertainties these often-cited global trends impose, why are decision makers not relying on strategic foresight to inform design decisions and strategic product service development? The most popular business design processes continue to be decidedly short-term reasoning practices: Agile, Lean, and Design Thinking are at least three problematic methodologies that might repel or constrain the uptake of serious futures anticipation. Business foresight practices are commonly relegated to strategy development, thereby informing business models and competitive strategy, but not necessarily the productive design capacity of the enterprise.
While design often addresses complex business problems for today’s world and the immediate future, strategic foresight develops alternative scenarios for the futures in which these solutions will exist. Scholars and educators in these core fields are devoting increased attention to the question the most effective organizational process or fit for successful, actionable long-horizon strategies .
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