• Building Strategic Foresight Capabilities

Core elements of Strategic Foresight systems

Building Future Capabilities

What makes a future-oriented company?

It's not only about finding the newest customer trends, the latest technological advancements, or every possible business model tweak. The call for change must come from a company's top-management. Waiting for top management to see, realize and act upon the need for change based on common and often isolated market research and R&D activities is not quick enough. Insights need to be filtered, internalized, evaluated and integrated seamlessly into the firm's decision-making processes. Only then a company becomes flexible enough to keep up with the rapid transformation of most industries and react adequately to change swiftly.

How do you create and integrate a system that meets these needs? We found that four elements need to be taken care of:

  • Organization, governance, integration & processes
  • Content
  • Supporting tools
  • Transfer & Engagement

Depending on the ambitions and scope their relative importance increases or decreases but the need to think them all through remains true for all cases.

Our work is defined by analytical and critical thinking, openness, determination and highest quality levels. We work as closely as possible with our clients leading to numerous iterations of a new concept or service with our clients until the best fit is established. Our ultimate aim is always to generate added value for our clients by preparing them for challenges to come.

Organization, governance, integration and processes

Trend, technology and competitor information and insights can be obtained rather easily. But true value comes when these insights are evaluated from the company's point-of-view. Outside parties will never be able to know about a company's long-term strategy, core assets, product and technology portfolios, focus markets and even less about corporate culture and beliefs.

That is why Rohrbeck Heger aims at integrating strategic foresight in organizational structures and processes. To help our clients shape the company’s future, we draw from our experience in building foresight. Either explicitly or implicitly we use our maturity model for strategic foresight that allows to systematically assess the future orientation of an organization and the industry.

When implementing strategic foresight systems we:

  • develop and implement core processes for trend collection, filtering, evaluation and rating
  • integrate this process into existing decision-making on the corporate and business unit level
  • develop and implement usage formats for output of strategic foresight activities, e.g. scenario analyses, roadmapping workshops or business games
  • define and identify key roles necessary to succeed in building up strategic foresight capabilities
  • support in building up internal and external networks of scouts
  • develop customized incentive systems to draw on tacit knowledge of experts
  • develop and employ KPI systems that combine input, throughput and output measures


Portfolio development, innovation exploration, and decision-making need to be based on high-quality insights on industry trends, technology developments and the competitive environment.

To provide valuable insights and an overview of key topics that allow our customers to prepare for the future, we use the latest analysis tools and innovation databases and work closely together with domain-specific experts and scouts from around the world. Together with them we offer everything from trend and media snippets to trend studies, trend presentations and pre-evaluated trend-kits. Clients may receive interpreted cross-industry information evaluated by criteria provided by the client, tailored trend reports covering the latest trends and innovation in a pre-defined domain or input to existing corporate trend tools in any format that is required. 

We help our clients to innovate in their current business and remain at the competitive edge and aim at enabling them to enter new markets. We help you to

  • fill the innovation pipeline with adequate input
  • identify complementing information to the existing innovation portfolio
  • optimize evaluation criteria and systematically integrate insights into innovation process
  • integrate content search into strategic foresight capability building in a meaningful and action-oriented way

We prefer to work with our clients through the content to evaluate the importance of the items for their specific needs. We know that meaningful answers to market, technology, and industry trends are developed through internal evaluations with external input and by matching them to company-specific assets. Of course we can also deliver the best possible information and insights as a package.

Supporting tools

In most cases building strategic foresight capabilities should go hand-in-hand with tool support. Depending on the use-case a tool may support the whole weak signal, trend, and technology identification, evaluation, filter, rating and follow-on usage process. At that it is crucial to not only understand the benefit of tool support but also the limits of tools.

How many IT-tools are available in companies - and how many of them are used regularly? Many tools, usually not many of them used regularly. For creating meaningful and well-received corporate foresight systems a balanced approach is required:

  • automated data mining from existing patent, trend and technology databases may be integrated but processes without IT-based support are not easily scalable;
  • collaborative work can create true value, may provide ways to enrich the professional careers of futurists and experts, and may also be genuinely fun with supportive tools;
  • but tools can hardly be implemented without practice-proven and stable processes;
  • finally, well-defined data aggregation and role-specific views within a tool may substantially increase value-creation of any strategic foresight measures. 

A central platform ensures scalability and efficiency and permits to tie intelligence into follow-on processes. Tools allow a wider integration of trends, improved validation methods and optimised filtering. This strengthens the ability to dive into each topic to collaboratively rate and understand the global view. 

Rohrbeck Heger helps optimizing efficiency and effectiveness by defining the requirements for an IT-platform, selecting the right tool and supporting the implementation. We know the tool vendors but are independent. Since we are regularly benchmarking the tools we can always recommend the best solution based on our clients' needs.

Transfer & Engagement

Isolated elements of advanced strategic foresight systems don't create much value, definitely they fall short of the potential value of a well-designed and integrated strategic foresight system. Customer, market or technology insights dripping in without having recipients that know what to do won't help. The same is true for processes that have not become part of everyday life within the organization or yet another tool that is not used - be it due to a lack of content, a horrible user experience or no incentives to work with it. 

Rohrbeck Heger makes the connections that are critical to successfully transform your business, leveraging market, technology and competitor insights to identify and act upon unmet innovation opportunities or threats by for example developing incentive schemes for employees to facilitate crowdsourcing, implementing key performance indicators and targets, offering engaging transfer formats as well as training and coachings. This will allow our clients to tie strategic foresight to innovation and strategy programs.