Looking Back at Looking Forward

sharing knowledge about organisational foresight

Foresight transfer

Interesting article in Fast Thinking, Autumn 2007 Basic Instincts article. Kevin Schofield, GM, strategy & communications at Microsoft Research (MSR) is interviewed. Schofield uses the term ‘technology transfer’ to apply the outcomes of research to product groups – it is fundamentally a social process about relationships, communication and trust. MSR’s approach is proactive. Relationship managers go out to product areas, attend meetings, learn about their business and talk with them about problem areas, then transfer that knowledge back to the researchers.

A similar approach ought be taken to operationalise horizon scanning insights. Relationships skills are key attributes of both parties. I know not to expect proactiveness from line areas unless emerging issues have created operational problem areas. Foresight practioners are usually good at asking questions and this skill would be just as equally applied to identifying current or emergent problems and to interpret these against emergent trends and possible discontinuities.

Another attribute of MSR is in promoting close collaboration with academics. I think this makes a great deal of sense. Some of the most emphatic support that I have experienced as an organisational futurist has been from academics.


April 10, 2007 Posted by | knowledge networks, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment