Corporate Foresight

Online Foresight Guide

The category of Corporate Foresight includes exercises run by individual companies, groups of companies, industry-wide associations, etc. within the private sector.

Foresight conducted within a single company generally has a focus on the relationship between the company, its business and the external environment. Given that company missions are generally set out in terms of the service the company provides (i.e. what consumers needs the company meets or wants to meet) the exercise will envisage how those needs will develop and change within the time horizon of the exercise.

Corporate foresight often faces difficulties in bringing its operational and strategic management on board and also positioning itself within the main stream of corporate strategic thinking. Foresight involves providing a form of intelligence that tends to be unfamiliar to operational management. Although it deals with technology and its impacts, frequently, it is not carried out by technologists. Its focus is on society's response to technology and its preferences. Because of companies' priorities and business imperatives, corporate Foresight exercises and projects tend to have short time scales.

For this type of Foresight long range societal changes are studied, such as changes in demographics, consumption patterns, and value systems. The impact these changes are likely to have on the organisational structure and purpose are forecast and finally the impact of technologies is mapped onto these changes. The methods used are mostly similar to those used in public foresight, but Delphi studies are not usually appropriate because of time scale. Scenarios, on the other hand, are increasingly used.