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Freitag, 17. Februar 2017

Benchmarking IT tools for Strategic Foresight

Strategic Foresight (SF) is about the very early stage of innovation. It deals with the early spotting of signals which need to be interpreted and integrated into a firm’s innovation pipeline. In most cases, building Strategic Foresight capabilities in an organization successfully will benefit from IT tools to support the process.

Tools may support the trend and technology identification, evaluation, filtering and rating. The tool should ensure a structured collection of data, increase process transparency, and support the R&D and project planning processes. Tools are especially useful with regard to knowledge-sharing across business units: crowdsourcing knowledge from experts worldwide and integrating this knowledge in the early stages of the innovation process.

Our successful approach to implementing Strategic Foresight tools in organizations deliver 5 key benefits:

  • Drawing attention:
    Suitable formats of information are crucial to reach internal clients and gain their acceptance 
  • Ensuring sufficient triangulation:
    It is important to integrate multiple sources, such as internal scouts, experts and automated databases
  • Enabling crowdsourcing:
    To draw from tacit knowledge of experts and to enable real-time discussions and knowledge exchange, incentive schemes should not be neglected
  • Organizing for scalability:
    Foresight platforms need to be integrated into the core processes of data gathering, interpretation and usage. 
  • Efficient participation:
    It is very important to integrate decision-makers in the foresight process. Therefore, a combination of online activities and offline top management workshops are needed

We constantly monitor and benchmark the Strategic Foresight tool landscape to be able to recommend the best possible solution to our clients. 

We benchmark tools that have reached a stable state and which address at least two out of three phases of the corporate foresight process (data gathering, interpretation and action). Through interviews, tutorials, research and actual testing, we conduct a thorough assessment of each tool across two dimensions 1) functionalities and 2) content. 

Functionalities include the following aspects: 

  • Data Gathering
    Focus: market, technology, both or other
    Scope and integrated external sources (databases, scraping, etc.)
    Integratability with own data sources, data pull
  • Interpretation
    Scope and strength of analytical methods
    Data visualization options and ease-of-use
    Integration with other BI Tools
    Strength of crowdsourcing functionality (e.g. surveys)
  • Action
    User collaboration features
    Assessment functional
    Availability of idea management / ideation functionality
    Interfaces to legacy systems, APIs
  • Usability & Technology
    Data and illustration export
    Underlying technologies and platforms
    Integration possibilities, e.g. corporate SSO support, Google+ or Facebook login, etc.
    Type of tool, esp. requirements for installation on PC vs. SaaS
    Technological requirements for installation
    Multilanguage support
    Training and customer support

On content level, we have examined the following criteria:   

  • Quality of datasets
    Number of data sources (external, internal, provided by tool supplier)
  • Regional reach
    Geographic scope of data sources
  • Regularity
    Frequency of data updates 
  • Quality of information 
    Level of detail and availability of background information (additional links, sources, citations)
    Availability of key figures and indicators
  • Time Horizon of analyses 
    Mix of short-, mid- and long-term information and reports
  • Innovation community
    Compatibility with open innovation processes
    Access to proprietary selected experts (innovation community)

Over the course of the next weeks we will present selected tools from our study. Our aim is to help selecting a suitable tool by making them comparable and enabling you to quickly get an overview of the strengths and weaknesses of each one.

If you would like to have more information on tools and how we can help strengthen your organization’s Corporate Foresight capabilities, contact us at info@rohrbeckheger.com.

Tags:

foresight tools platform strategy scanning benchmarking innovation