Embracing systematic futures thinking at the intersection of Strategic Planning, Foresight and Design

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Joern Henning Buehring
Jeanne Liedtka


In this conceptual paper, we review the literature spanning the Strategic Planning, Foresight and Design disciplines with the emphasis placed on how innovation stakeholders may engage with the future in order to explore the challenges to decision-making they highlight. From this review, and a series of facilitators identified by the authors in previous design and futures thinking field research, critical perspectives are presented that illustrate how systematic futures thinking can inform decision-makers concerning the innovation challenges and opportunities emerging over medium and longer-term (5-15 years) time horizons of social and technology environments. Combining Foresight and Design in an approach we call “Foresight by Design”, as part of Strategic Planning processes, can help the emergence of new and more creative possibilities, foster the inclusion and alignment of diverse stakeholders, and provide for ongoing learning through prototyping and experimentation by using design tools and approaches to achieve deeper insight and alignment around current reality, to facilitate a more productive conversation across difference, to aid in specifying a portfolio of desirable futures, and to engage ecosystem partners in active experimentation that generates new knowledge and learning.

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Author Biographies

Joern Henning Buehring, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

School of Design, Research Assistant Professor

Jeanne Liedtka, University of Virginia

Darden School of Business, United Technologies Corporation Professor of Business Administration