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Add Insight – Good scanning

Purpose
Add Insights on change important to you and your organization - create your own database of articles, videos, podcasts, reports etc. Share your observations with others or keep them private as you wish. 

Your scanning
Your scanning focus will likely cover – what competitors are doing, what is happening in the industry and how might your competitors respond, what is happening more generally with industry and government policy, and then broader societal and global trends. The emphasis you put on each segment will depend on what you need, but you should always spend time looking at global trends – this is the area that sometimes gets dismissed because people are busy and want to know what is going to affect their work tomorrow rather than in 10 years time. But, the global trends drive the former and you need to understand them first.

Look for Insights about:

  • Your industry and its operating environment.
  • Your services and how they might evolve.
  • Your clients and how their expectations might change.
  • Issues that likely affect your workforce and your staff.
  • Emerging and converging technologies.
  • Emerging shifts in what we think is "business as usual".

Good scanning
Good scanners identify sources that provide information on change prior to their natural pace of entry onto the policy stage. Sources are drawn from think tanks, academic publications, mainstream media, corporate foresight, expert/strategic thinkers, government sources, alternative journals and blogs, charities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), minority communities, and futurists.

Where to look
Newspapers, websites, blogs, wikis, podcasts, videos, news sites, newsletters, magazines, books, book reviews, presentations, reports, surveys, interviews, seminars, chat rooms, trend observers, advertisers, philosophers, sociologists, management gurus, consultants, researchers, experts, and universities are all possible sources of information.

Good scanners concentrate on identifying anomalies and patterns from their daily scans with a detailed knowledge of where information resides using proprietary and utility technology to find the best material versus source categorization. Scanners need to be open-minded, able to see opportunities and threats in change phenomena, and recognize entirely new areas for investigation within and far beyond their core interests.

They look for material that expresses:

  • New: novel, advance, innovation, renovation, fashion, latest, renew, innovate, newness, fresh
  • First: inception, conception, initiative, beginning, debut, onset, birth, infancy, start, dawn, commencement
  • Idea: notion, belief, apprehension, thought, impression, ideation, point of view, standpoint, theory, prediction
  • Change: alteration, mutation, permutation, variation, modification, inflection, mood, deviation, turn, inversion, subversion, forecast
  • Surprise: marvel, astonish, amaze, wonder, stupefy, fascinate, dazzle, startle, take aback, electrify, stun, bewilder, boggle, wildcard
  • Opportunity: chance, opening, crisis, juncture, conjuncture, favorable, high time
  • Threat: future, prospect, anticipation, perspective, expectation, horizon, outlook, look-out, coming, forthcoming, imminent, approaching, fear, uncertainty
  • Unprecedented: no precedent, unparalleled

They choose sources by identifying opinion leaders in specific sectors. And, they apply robust decision rules to choosing sources, ensuring that they incorporate both the latest high quality evidence and identify weak signals from fringe sources. They use evaluative modulators to help see patterns and gaps such as strength, maturity, relevance, likelihood, controversy, speed, time horizon, and geographic spread.

Therefore, while initially tagging an Idea as having been sourced from an amateur, or the fringe, the task is to strengthen and broaden hits in order to improve source attributes towards professional and expert. If this cannot be achieved the strength and maturity rating given to an issue would be suitably reduced.

 Source: By kind permission of Infinite Futures

Attributes
Good links have the following attributes:

  • Credible and eclectic sources from the full range of disciplines.
  • Easy to read/plain language.
  • Thought provoking.
  • Future focused (except where history or today give context and
    understanding of the future).
  • Helpful to creating future plans and actions.

And question links as follows:

  • Is at deep-link site level wherever available.
  • Is comprehensively described through the content classification.
  • Correctly describes an interesting title and properly ascribed
    source.
  • Contains a description that eliminates a site’s over-claims to
    fame.
  • Includes key tags: document type, timeframe, country of origin, URL, language.
  • Only reference pre-payment sites at front page level and are
    clearly marked as "subscription" sites.

Determine what should be uploaded as follows:

  • Does the link aim to identify and assess possible future threats and opportunities, including radical alternatives?
  • Does the link explore socio-economic trends and their potential impacts?
  • Does the link challenge existing political, economic, social, technological, and environmental assumptions and evidence?
  • Does the link question assumptions underlying current policies?
  • Does the link pioneer or employ methodologies appropriate to best practice horizon scanning, strategic planning, or change management?

Further reference
You can get an in-depth explanation of scanning and advice on how to improve your skill here:

Contact us
Please feel to contact us using the free-form message box below for more free advice.


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