There is strength in numbers – DRA crowdsources visioning of the future
For several years now, DRA’s management team has collaborated on strategy work, mapping trends, megatrends, weak signals and dark horses on a broad scale. This has proved to be efficient: many trends we have identified have developed into megatrends, and have also come across some of the dark horses (like crises becoming chronic).
Last year, we engaged all of our 100-plus employees in the organisation’s strategy work and visioning the future. Futurist Elina Hiltunen invited us to pilot the Aie tool she has developed in collaboration with Exove.
Our first trip to the future was led by the Finnish mountain climber Veikka Gustafsson. He took our top management to an unforgettable excursion to the Porkkala lighthouse. There, under the starlit sky, enjoying good meal and listening to the singing of the seals and Veikka’s interesting stories, the future began to take shape in our minds. As a result, many new weak signals about the future were added to the signal bank in the Aie tool.
Next, we continued pursuing signals with an experienced sailor, Tapio Lehtinen, who told our team leaders about the events during his unforgettable solo sailing around the world. As we enjoyed listening to his stories in the mild winds, we also peered out into the future to add yet some more ideas to our signal bank.
The latest effort was our futuristic pre-Christmas party where all our personnel were engaged in a brainstorming session about the weak signals in work life under the watchful eye of a robot. As a result, our signal bank grew again by over 150 new weak signals and trends.
When the collective amount of signals was already close to 200, our management team started grouping them. We updated previously identified trends and signals based on the new findings and adapted our strategy accordingly. Little by little, we started to see two scenarios for the future of DRA.
Then it was time for the most important phase: testing the strategy against the scenarios. Which elements of our strategy would work if the positive scenario proved to be correct? And what would we need to take into account if the more dystopian scenario became reality? We decided to create an ‘emergency brake’ and determine the conditions for its activation. And to do that, we undertook to answer two questions: what are the measures to be taken, and when to put them into operation, should the unwanted scenario start to unfold?
This way, we managed to harness the silent knowledge of all our employees for the company’s foresight process, and by crowdsourcing, we also future-proofed our strategy.
The future sustainability of a company is just as solid as the intelligence about the future of its employees on which it rests.