Fortune Storytelling: Futures Studies transforms uncertainties into a market differentiator
The concept of Fortune Storytelling brings us to the countless possibilities for analysis and projection of scenarios, in an increasingly competitive market and with more demanding consumers.
It is about taking on the business narrative itself, especially with regards to the future – a more predictive and even futuristic stance.
That’s what we’re going to talk about in this article. Keep reading to understand what the most innovative organizations have done to project their future and what you can apply from now on to ensure the continuity and health of your business!
Fortune Storytelling and the new readings of the future
Countless experts point out that innovating is the only option for companies today. This is far from a romantic idea, since disruptive solutions (those that make traditional models inoperative) are not developed on the basis of now – they are designed for the future.
The volatility of the current world means that businesses that innovate are not gaining competence, but merely chasing their losses.
The transformation brought about by Disruptive Innovation is just that: anticipating trends and not simply following the market flow. Just look at business models that have emerged in recent years – Airbnb, Netflix, Spotify, Uber etc.
It is the old story of Henry Ford, who thought of the automobile, not faster horses.
Reflect: how many years have urban mobility solutions been (and still are ) behind Uber? And how many years was Blockbuster ahead of Netflix before it died?
This whole movement requires a new mindset. More than solving problems and dealing with current business challenges, it is increasingly necessary to think about the future. It requires breaking with the past and looking to what lies ahead; build it now.
In this sense, companies that do not have a consolidated infrastructure have an easier time adapting. After all, it’s easier to change when you aren’t worried about leaving anything behind.
How to create corporate scenarios and prepare for the future
Within what has been called Future Studies, the development of narrative scenario sets helps to identify possible paths for a vision of the future.
Future scenarios facilitate dialogue in which assumptions can be revealed or challenged without censorship. They allow for the consideration of unexpected developments and inconvenient truths. They also encourage strategic conversations that go beyond the usual incremental, comfortable, and familiar progression in a culture of consensus.
Experts point out that many businesses, departments, and corporate projects are able to “unlock” their innovation capabilities through the scenario creation exercise.
Among the practical advantages of scenario building, these are the most significant:
- improvements in strategic development, making stakeholders more aware of risks and restrictions;
- easiness to think about alternative solutions, looking “ahead”;
- gaining awareness of possible future situations, which helps people to prepare to deal with them.
In short, the concept of Future Studies has to do with the systematic study of possible, probable futures; including the worldviews and myths that underlie the future.
When creating scenarios it is very important to keep in mind that there is no linear future. Instead, there are many alternative futures that can therefore be studied and / or designed. This involves changing the way people think (mindsets) about the future and how organizations deal with uncertainty, complexity, and risks in their strategic processes.
How Futures Studies can get you ahead
The best way to prepare an organization for the future is to actively build that future – to assume the narrative with awareness and strategy. And this is also one of the premises of Futures Studies.
With a holistic framework, Futures Studies aims to create fictional narratives of plausible, and desirable future scenarios. It involves storytelling that is built based on careful analysis of socioeconomic, technological, political, and environmental changes.
Therefore, assuming the premise that people and institutions can control a certain number of variables and create movements towards a certain direction (influence other actors and tangent events), one can gain a clear competitive advantage.
In short, if the future is uncertain and the present itself seems to be stuck in quicksand, it is only organizations that assume their narrative through designing scenarios and working towards the future, that manage to transform their uncertainties into strengths.
Build a Future Studies strategy in your business
Now, you must be wondering how to take this theoretical basis and apply it to your business.
Keep reading to see a checklist of the basics that you must carry out in order to implement Future Studies in your corporate environment.
To this end, we will rely on some points made by Sohail Inayatullah, scientist / political futurist at the Graduate Institute of Future Studies at Tamkang University, Taiwan.
This renowned researcher points out “six points that provide a theory of future thinking linked to methods and tools, and developed through praxis”. Are they:
- Mapping: the present and the future are mapped. When mapping time, organizations are clear about where they came from and where they are going.
- Anticipation: analysis of emerging issues as the main method, aiming to identify “regions of mild climate” where social innovations begin. It also encompasses identifying problems before they become heavy and expensive and, of course, looking for new possibilities and opportunities.
- Timing: the search for patterns of change, the stages and mechanisms of long-term change. Always considering that the future is not linear, but it is cyclical and always happens follows a pattern.
“Often, new futures are driven by a creative minority. They challenge the notion of a well tread future. Instead of imitating what everyone else is doing, they innovate. This can be social, political, cultural, spiritual or technological innovation. These change agents imagine a different future and inspire others to work in that direction, ” warns Professor Sohail Inayatullah.
- Deepening: analysis in causal layers, seeking to unpack, deepen the future and, from there, expand it.
- Creation of alternatives: scenario planning – which we have already described.
“The scenarios are the key tools of future studies. They open up the present, circumventing the range of uncertainties, reducing risks, offering alternatives, creating more flexible organizational mentalities and, even better, foreseeing the future”, adds Professor Inayatullah.
- Transformation of the future: the final pillar is transformation. Three methods are crucial: vision; backcasting; and transcending – resolving conflicts between visions.
“What futures do individuals want? What futures do organizations, cities, and nations want? Visions work by pulling people in. They give individuals and groups a sense of what’s possible. They also inspire the nobility within each person, calling on individuals to sacrifice the short term for the long term, for the greater good. Finally, they help to align individual objectives with institutional objectives ”, ponders the researcher.
Seek expert help
Finally, the best advice we can give you is: seek expert advice to help your business transform narratives into Fortune Storytelling – and, above all, not be at the mercy of circumstance.
Here at MJV, we have helped organizations from different market segments to look ahead without fear, assume their narrative and project disruptive innovation. We do this through approaches like Design Thinking, Gamification, and others, with a team of very competent consultants. Feel free to contact us!