Chapter 3. Career Options - Great Ways to Be a Foresight Leader

2. Metrics and Planning


Metrics and Planning (M&P) is top management’s main department, and toolset, for analyzing and elaborating strategy. M&P can be considered as a unit, just as R&D (Research & Development) can be considered as a combined function in the product and services division of the firm. Metrics includes accounting, analysis, forecasting, finance, budgeting, and any other quantitative reporting that can clarify the past and present, and provide better data and support for decisionmaking and planning the firm’s future.

This department is typically responsible for the Planning half of the specialty of Vision/Goals/Strategy & Planning, while Top Management is most responsible for Vision, Goals, and Strategy. In practice, both departments do both strategy and planning, with top management doing less detail. If a company is using Objectives and Key Results (OKRs),
a largely bottom-up goalsetting method, this department may be facilitating the process of employee goalsetting (objectives) and/or employee key results determination (outcomes by which objectives are going to be measured).

In addition to Planning, M&P is responsible for six foresight specialties in the typical firm, just as many as Top Management. In alpha order, those six specialties are:

  1. Accounting & Intangibles,
  2. Analysis & Decision Support,
  3. Benchmarking & Quality, 
  4. Data Science & ML, 
  5. Forecasting & Prediction, 
  6. Investing & Finance.

Accounting & Intangibles have been discussed elsewhere, so we’ll say no more about them for now. Analysis & Decision Support, and their cousins Data Science & Machine Learning, have become increasingly valuable with the rise of decision support platforms, big data, and the ability to do much of this work in the cloud, or as a service, eliminating the need for many firms to maintain hardware and software.

Decision support, a blend of human and computer processes and tools, is an emerging practice that uses outcomes-testing to do more evidence-based foresight work. Decision modeling approaches like real options analysis, used by large firms for long-term capital investment decisions, is another state-of-the-art M&P foresight method. See John Mun’s Real Options Analysis (2005), and associated software, for more on this quantitative foresight technique. As connectivity, sensors, analytics, and cloud services grow in adoption, many more powerful tools and platforms for M&P foresight will emerge in coming years.

Benchmarking, which includes learning about industry and firm best practices, and designing scorecard systems for use throughout the firm, is the responsibility of this department, while Quality is often given to Operations, so we will talk about it under that department.

Forecasting now has a number of professional associations (IIF, IBF&P, and scores of economic forecasting groups) and these need to be better integrated with our primary professional foresight communities. Prediction remains a relatively minor specialty in most firms at present. Nevertheless, hundreds of firms run both internal prediction markets and ideation management platforms, and any kind of crowd evaluation system is implicitly a prediction system, so these are very important areas where foresight practice will improve in coming years.

Investing & Finance are also key responsibilities of this department. Investing includes asset management, real estate, and other major capital commitments, and is one area where better metrics, forecasting, planning, and strategic agility are rewarded. When a firm is in startup mode, with volatile sales and limited capital, cost accounting and cash flow forecasting are often the most important foresight metrics. Many firms have died while scaling up because they did not control costs, or ran into an avoidable or temporary cash flow problem.

In enterprise resource management there are also many opportunities for foresight professionals to add metrics and key performance indicators (KPI’s) that surface emerging issues, reduce risk, improve transparency, governance, and improve measurement and reporting. Triple-bottom line (economic, social, environmental) benefits and cost measurement has become the dominant approach to full cost accounting in the public sector. For more, see ACCA’s annual Accounting for the Future conference. See also Benchmarking for Best Practices, Bogan and English (2012), for more on benchmarking, another critical metrics method. Doug Hubbard’s How to Measure Anything (2010) is a primer on measuring business intangibles (brand perception, employee satisfaction, etc.), a big step to improving their management.

As we’ve said, the practice of strategic planning, as it includes both Vision/Goals/Strategy and Planning specialties, bridges both Top Management and the Metrics & Planning departments in many organizations. Strategic planning can be done rigidly and poorly, or flexibly and effectively, and it has been both misused and overused in many businesses. Some of strategic planning’s abuses and limitations are outlined in Lou Gerstner’s “Can strategic planning pay off?”, McKinsey Quarterly (1973, reprinted in 2014) and they are more extensively documented by Mintzberg in The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning (1994) and more recently in Walter Kiechel’s excellent Lords of Strategy (2010).

Scenario planning is outlined in Peter Schwartz’s The Art of the Long View (1996), describing his experiences at Shell and Global Business Network in the 1980s and 1990s. An excellent practitioner book on “scenario learning,” the use of scenarios to test strategy and make plans, is Fahey and Randall’s Learning from the Future: Competitive Foresight Scenarios (1997). Thomas Chermack’s Scenario Planning in Organizations (2011) is also a great practitioner’s book, covering more evidence-based methods of building, applying, and assessing the impact of scenarios in organizational planning.

Foresighted firms must plan, forecast, and budget quickly, inexpensively, and often, since reality often changes plans. They will do strategic planning in the C-suite, and project management (project planning) in product or service departments. Good planners seek broad stakeholder participation in their plans, and use a variety of foresight methods, including scanning, expert groups, trend research, forecasting, and scenario planning, as front ends to strategy, to generate new options, uncover hidden threats, and generally improve outcomes.

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Table of Contents


Chapter 2. Personal Foresight – Becoming an Effective Self-Leader

Chapter 2: Personal Foresight

Becoming an Effective Self-Leader

Chapter 4. Models – Foundations for Organizational Foresight

Chapter 4: Models

Foundations for Organizational Foresight

Chapter 7. Acceleration – Guiding Our Extraordinary Future

Chapter 7: Acceleration

Guiding Our Extraordinary Future (In Process)

II. Global Progress: 5 Goals, 10 Values, Many Trends

Innovation: Our Abundant Future
Intelligence: Our Augmented Future
Interdependence: Our Civil Future
Immunity: Our Protected Future
Sustainability: Our Rebalanced Future

III. Universal Accelerating Change

Great Race to Inner Space: Our Surprising Future
Entropy&Information: We’re Running Down & Up
The Puzzle of Meaning: We Have No Einstein Yet
Trees, Funnels & Landscapes: Intro to Evo Devo
Big Picture Change: Five Scales of Accelerating ED
Transcension Hypothesis: Where Acceleratn Ends?
IDABDAK: Social Response to Accel & Developmnt
We’re On a Runaway Train: Being Accelaware

IV. Evo Devo and Exponential Foresight

Seeing It All: Accel., Diverg, Adapt, Convrg, Decel.
Natural (I4S) Innovation: The Evolutionary Drive
Natural (I4S) Intelligence: The Human-AI Partnership
Natural (I4S) Morality: Why Empathy and Ethics Rule
Natural (I4S) Security: Strength from Disruption
Natural (I4S) Sustainability: The Developmental Drive
S-Curves: Managing the Four Constituencies
Pain to Gain: Traversing the Three Kuznets Phases
Hype to Reality: Beyond Hype Cycles to Reality Checks
Exponentials Database: Measuring Accelerations
TINA Trends: Societal Evolutionary Development
Managing Change: STEEPCOP Events, Probs, Ideas
A Great Shift: A Survival to a Sentient Economy

V. Evo Devo and Exponential Activism

Building Protopias: Five Goals of Social Progress
Normative Foresight: Ten Values of Society
Top & STEEPCOP Acceleratns: Positive & Negative
Dystopias, Risks, and Failure States
Three Levels of Activism: People, Tech & Universe
A Great Opportunity: Exponential Empowerment


Chapter 8. Your Digital Self – The Human Face of the Coming Singularity

Chapter 8: Your Digital Self

The Human Face of the Coming Singularity (In Process)

I. Your Personal AI (PAI): Your Digital Self

Digital Society: Data, Mediation, and Agents
Personal AIs: Advancing the Five Goals
PAI Innovation: Abundance and Diversity
PAI Intelligence: Bio-Inspired AI
PAI Morality: Selection and Groupnets
PAI Security: Safe Learning Agents
PAI Sustainability: Science and Balance
The Human Face of the Coming Singularity

II. PAI Protopias & Dystopias in 8 Domains

1. Personal Agents: News, Ent., Education
2. Social Agents: Relat. and Social Justice
3. Political Agents :  Activism & Represent.
4. Economic Agents:  Retail, Finance, Entrep
5. Builder Agents :  Work, Innov. & Science
6. Environ. Agents : Pop. and Sustainability
7. Health Agents :  Health, Wellness, Death
8. Security Agents :  Def., Crime, Corrections

III. PAI Activism & Exponential Empowerment

Next Government: PAIs, Groupnets, Democ.
Next Economy: Creat. Destr. & Basic Income
Next Society: PAI Ent., Mortality & Uploading
What Will Your PAI Contribution Be?

Chapter 10. Startup Ideas – Great Product & Service Challenges for Entrepreneurs

Chapter 10: Startup Ideas

Great Product and Service Challenges for Entrepreneurs (In Process)

I. 4U’s Idea Hub: Building Better Futures

Air Deliveries and Air Taxis: Finally Solving Urban Gridlock
Ballistic Shields and Gun Control: Protecting Us All from Lone Shooters
Bioinspiration Wiki: Biomimetics and Bio-Inspired Design
Brain Preservation Services: Memory and Mortality Redefined
Carcams: Document Thieves, Bad Driving, and Bad Behavior
Competition in Govt Services: Less Corruption, More Innovation
Computer Adaptive Education (CAE): Better Learning and Training
Conversational Deep Learning Devsuites: Millions of AI Coders
Digital Tables: Telepresence, Games, Entertainment & Education
Dynaships: Sustainable Low-Speed Cargo Shipping
Electromagnetic Suspension: Nausea-Free Working & Reading in Cars
Epigenetic Health Tests: Cellular Aging, Bad Diet, Body Abuse Feedback
Fireline Explosives and Ember Drones: Next-Gen Fire Control
Global English: Empowering the Next Generation of Global Youth
Greenbots: Drone Seeders and Robotic Waterers for Mass Regreening
High-Density Housing and Zoning: Making Our Cities Affordable Again
Highway Enclosures and Trail Networks: Green and Quiet Urban Space
Inflatable Packaging: Faster and Greener Shipping and Returns
Internet of Families: Connecting People Over Things
Kidcams: Next-Gen Security for Child Safety and Empowerment
Kidpods: Indoor & Outdoor Parent-Assistive Toyboxes
Microdesalination: Democratizing Sustainable Fresh Water Production
Noise Monitors: Documenting and Reducing Noise Pollution
Oceanside Baths: Sustainable Year Round Beach Enjoyment
Open Blood Scanners: DIY Citizen Health Care Sensor Tech
Open Streaming Radio: User-Centered Audio Creation and Rating
Open Streaming Video: User-Centered Video Creation and Rating
Open Values Filters: Social Rankers, Arg. Mappers, and Consensus Finders
Personal AIs: Your Private Advisor, Activist, and Interface to the World
Pet Empowerment: Next-Gen Rights and Abilities for Our Domestic Animals
Safe Closets: Fire-, Earthquake-, and Intruder-Proof Retreat Spaces
Safe Cars: Reducing Our Insane 1.3M Annual Auto Deaths Today
Safe Motorcycles: Lane Splitting in Gridlock Without Risk of Death
Shared Value Insurance: User-Centered Risk Reduction Services
Sleeperbuses and Microhotels: Demonetized Intercity Travel
Space-Based Solar Power: Stratellite Powering and Weather Management
Stratellites: Next-Gen Urban Broadband, Transparency, and Security
Touch DNA: Next-Gen Home Security and Crime Deterrence
View Towers: Improving Urban Walkability, Inspiration, and Community

Chapter 11. Evo Devo Foresight – Unpredictable and Predictable Futures

Chapter 11: Evo Devo Foresight

Unpredictable and Predictable Futures

Appendix 1. Peer Advice – Building a Successful Foresight Practice