In a recent article Patrick van der Duin and Erik den Hartigh present a convincing argument for the need to adapt corporate foresight practices to the firm that applies them. More specifically they look at how corporate foresight is integrated with strategic and innovation management.
They start by extracting from literature different needs of strategic management that could potentially be fulfilled by corporate foresight, including:
- Strategic intent analysis
- Technology analysis
- Competency analysis
- Visioning, backcasting, environmental analysis
When studying the interplay of corporate foresight and innovation management, they identify that their evolution over time has occurred in parallel:
Source (page 342): Van der Duin, P. and E. d. Hartigh (2009). “Keeping the balance. Exploring the link of futures research with innovation and strategy processes.” Technology Analysis & Strategic Management 21(3): 333-351.
From my perspective their article points at a to a large extent neglected role of corporate foresight: Its role to provide services to other corporate functions. Patrick and Erik make a great start for this much needed discussion. And I hope it will trigger more thought on this issue!
For my part I was already inspired by an earlier version of their paper that they presented at a conference. That motivated me to look deeper into how corporate foresight contributes to the innovation capacity of a firm. The following research has resulted in this paper:
Rohrbeck, R., & Gemünden, H. G. 2011. Corporate Foresight: Its Three Roles in Enhancing the Innovation Capacity of a Firm. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 78(2), 231-243. (open access version) (of which you can also read a summary in our blog post)