Our team at Autodesk is the Strategic Foresight team. We apply foresight techniques to help Autodesk form its strategies, bring in visiting fellows who share their perspectives to help Autodesk identify any blind spots, and create scenarios that provide a vision of how our customers might work in the future. Foresight brings rigor to our process, visiting fellows appeal to our collaborative nature, and scenarios apply storytelling in ways that all stakeholders can understand.
This summer, we hosted two interns, Julienne DeVita and Steven Morse, who developed three different scenarios:
- In The Future, Will You and Your Friends Will Be Able to Watch Different Versions of the Same Movie at the Same Time?
- In the Future, Will AI Help You Design Your Own Bespoke Products?
- In the Future, AI May Help Architects Even More to Make Sustainable Choices
My background is in computer science/software engineering. I am relatively new to strategic foresight, so most of our interns' training came from my colleagues, Radha Mistry and Madebo Fatunde, who are experts in the field. At a fundamental level, strategic foresight can be practiced in three steps.
- Scanning the environment for forces of change and the horizon for weak signals that are indicators of emerging forces of change.
- Creating scenarios using the forces of change, established or emerging.
- Translating scenarios into company strategy.
These three steps are aptly explained by Alex Fergnani who is a PhD researcher and executive educator at the National University of Singapore Business School. Though our interns learned their lessons well, to help future interns, I created some Murals to accompany Fergnani's instructional videos. One could think of these as "cheat sheets" that can be used while viewing the videos.
Here are the videos with their accompanying Murals:
At Autodesk, we are inspired by the prospect of a better world designed and made for all. Our mission is to empower innovators with design and make technology so they can achieve the new possible. To do that, we deliver customers intuitive, powerful, and accessible technology that provides automation and insight for their design and make processes, enabling them to achieve better outcomes for their products, their businesses, and the world. Preparing for possible futures by scanning, creating scenarios, and translating them into strategy helps Autodesk deliver the right technology at the right time. The future looks bright as we see every problem as a chance for our customers to find unprecedented, groundbreaking solutions.
Strategic foresight training is alive in the lab.