In a recent article we aimed to establish to what extent corporate foresight supports the innovation effort of a company. We build on our sample of 20 case studies to identify three roles that can be played by corporate foresight. In the figure below we show where along the innovation process a contribution from corporate foresight is possible.
The three roles can enhance the innovation capacity of a firm in different ways:
- In the strategist role, corporate foresight directs innovation activities by creating a vision, providing strategic guidance, consolidating opinions, assessing and repositioning innovation portfolios, and identifying the new business models of competitors.
- In the initiator role, corporate foresight triggers innovation initiatives by identifying new customer needs, technologies, and product concepts of competitors.
- In the opponent role, corporate foresight challenges the innovators to create better and more successful innovations by challenging basic assumptions, challenging the state-of-the-art of current R & D projects, and scanning for disruptions that could endanger current and future innovations.