Strategic Futures and Insights
Change is happening at an increasing pace. Newer technology replaces new technology. Global competition appears in local markets, and changes not only the market, but value chains. Customers demand more innovation from their partners and providers, changing the face of collaboration. Knowledge of and preparation for the future is a must for survival.
The HBMG Strategic Insights and Futures (SI&F) team provides a range of services to help you focus on the right future path for your organization. Experience across a range of industries and technologies has prepared our team to provide insight into how multiple technologies will impact your organization or region in such areas as digital convergence, collaboration, nanotech / biotech / infotech / neurotech fusion, and smart devices.
To start on the path to incorporate the future into strategic and tactical processes, an organization must be aware of the impact of future trends and future events in order to shift its focus from the present. HBMG SI&F has a range of proven methodologies to guide you to:
- Realize the importance of the future
- Jump-start a future-oriented strategic planning project or process
- Generate fresh, innovative ideas for immediate exploitation
We provide Major Trends and Disruptors Studies, facilitate Grand Challenges workshops, conduct Group Ideation Sessions using advanced brainstorming methods, give talks on the world of the future, and hold classes and seminars on techniques and approaches to planning for technology impacts.
Organizations that realize that they must refocus their current assets—physical, financial, intellectual, and motivational—on the future need to take a disciplined approach. Our team has helped numerous organizations and regions:
- Enter emerging opportunities earlier with less risk and greater profit
- Set up processes to master technological change
- Create a group to seek, evaluate, and choose among new opportunities
- Apply crosscuts to increase opportunity, and reduce cost and risk
HBMG’s SI&F team provides services in forecasting, market assessments, terrain maps, regional opportunity analysis for economic development, industry focus sessions, disruptive technology tracking, and collaborative process training.
Invention creates the spark, ingenuity fuels it but innovation is the fire. An organization does not manage just technology anymore, it harnesses innovation through its labs, developers, marketers, customers, partners, and business team. HBMG’s SI&F team helps organizations:
- Maintain or restore competitiveness through innovation
- Expand capability to profit from exploiting technology
- Establish a base of process, knowledge, and culture to be more innovative and future-focused
- Attain better results through collaboration within the organization and with partners
We steer you towards these objectives by providing technology assessments, technology transfer process evaluations, roadmap facilitation, business incubator assessments, future studies organizational processes, and technology management education. Additionally, our eManagers platform is a foundational element for effective technology management.
All of our services build up to the creation of a strategy that designed for implementation and success. Picking an actionable strategy is the first step, followed by using innovative ways to implement the strategy, tracking the inputs and outputs of the strategy based on the view of the future created in the earlier stages, and adapting to changes. Our team works with you to:
- Create an actionable strategy with profitability and risk mitigation
- Find a faster return on the investment in the strategy
- Coordinate the strategy’s elements throughout the organization and with partners
- Make you more resilient to change
HBMG’s SI&F offers extraordinary services in strategy maps, strategic foresight, stakeholder analysis, impact analysis, scenario planning, weak signal analysis (wildcards), red teaming, business simulation games, trends and drivers identification (force field analysis), and risk management assessment.
Success in each of these areas makes the future yours. Whether you are just beginning to appreciate the impact the future will have on you or you already have actionable strategies in place, HBMG’s SI&F can provide the insights to make you more profitable and future-proof.
A number of different types of organizations turn to HBMG for guidance on the right Strategic Framework to harness the future. State and federal government agencies, large, medium, small, and startup companies, educational institutions, and industry associations internationally, at all levels of technological sophistication, benefit from the methodologies, tools, and techniques our team shares with its clients. Call on our world-renowned futurists to challenge your staff and create well-planned strategies.
HBMG has membership in the Association of Professional Futurists.
Future Perspectives Presentations
Talks on what-lies-ahead enlighten and start the audience thinking about the possibilities of the future by giving them a new frame of reference. A talk can be targeted to the industry, the organization, or a theme.
Usually lasting half a day, ideation sessions are based on advanced brainstorming techniques created to draw ideas from everyone regardless of their personality type. Other techniques build on these ideas, and draw out additional salient ideas as well.
This service provides a visual perspective of the impact of a trend or future event. An Impact Analysis enlists the team in understanding all the facets and interrelationships inherent in the future topic. We facilitate Impact Analysis sessions and lead the discussion afterward.
Major Trends and Disruptors Studies
Through a scanning and surveillance process as well as directed research and expert opinion, the team identifies major trends and disruptions that will affect society and your organization. This analysis can be specifically oriented to your organization and packaged in a variety of ways, such as an informal session with a small group, a presentation to your executives, staff, and other stakeholders, a Grand Challenges workshop, or through a Future Study.
Forecasts of future technology form the foundation of any effort to focus on specific markets as they provide the information to justify, prioritize, and track strategic plans. We use a variety of tools across the quantitative-qualitative spectrum to assure that our forecasts are accurate, communicable to a diverse audience, and actionable.
A firm's market position doesn't last forever these days. When it does hold up, revenue and profits shrink. A market assessment identifies what is happening in the specific market and what can be done about it. This information can be used to create a new strategy and inform employees, customers, financial analysts, and thought leaders of the wisdom of strategy shifts. Or, like a yearly physical checkup, market assessments are simply useful to discern what incremental changes need to be made.
Regional Opportunity Analysis
Geographic areas need to break away from fads and high level visions to find select technology-based opportunities to pursue. These opportunities must match their culture, assets, and abilities in a way that brings all community stakeholders into the process, and empowers them to work as pre-competitive teams to assure success in each chosen area.
Industry Focus Sessions
Members of an industry come together in a pre-competitive forum to identify and address opportunities to benefit the industry. These forums involve surveying industry membership for their care-abouts and pain-points as well as identifying external trends that will impact it. This forms the basis for focus areas for the industry to pursue collaboratively. Our unique tools, extensive knowledge base, and innovative insights will facilitate the focusing activity.
Within an organization it is difficult to get a full, balanced, and objective perspective of the investment in technology. Our team acts as a disinterested intermediary to assess factors such as the technical characteristics, customer requirements, technology life, competitiveness, manufacturability, and business case of your investment. The output can take the form of value analysis, risk analysis, or strategic recommendations.
Business Incubator Assessment
Incubators are sponsored by many different organizations: a large company, a university, a community, or a private party. Over a series of crises, new practices in incubation have evolved, for example, in funding, intellectual asset protection, globalization, and in collaboration. The technology landscape is undergoing a sea change in convergence in areas such as digital systems, biotech/nanotech, and infotech/neurotech. An assessment of how well the incubation infrastructure is working with recommendations for change should be done periodically. The HBMG SI&F team’s experience across a range of technologies and organizational types, as well as its understanding of future trends and disruptors, is a source of unique insight for such an assessment.
Future Studies Process Development
A future studies process is a valuable addition to the strategic processes of an organization. It is the headlights that allow the organization to look forward and move faster. Our experience as futurists and our attention to strategic methods, tools, and processes that gain insight from the future is applied to helping you develop a future studies process. The steps involved include gaining an appreciation of the impact of future knowledge, assessing the current futures IQ of the organization, designing a process that fits the care-abouts, capabilities, and culture of the organization, building a business case, and training in tools, techniques, and methodologies needed for the function’s success.
Ascertaining the proper role and influence of all the stakeholders in a situation is paramount to a successful outcome. More importantly, understanding the signals of a shift in stakeholder position, and doing the analysis, allows the organization to create messages. Responsive actions can to change those positions so that they are more favorable to the desired outcome.
Impact Analysis offers a quick way to uncover the necessary parameters in setting a strategy. It can also be used later for strategy analysis and implementation. It excels at finding gaps and hidden weaknesses, drivers and restraints, and potential wild cards and tipping points. We facilitate impact analysis sessions, and document the results with our recommendations.
Weak Signal Analysis
Weak signals are the seeds for insight, and have many uses in the services we offer. For example, as input to a strategy exercise, weak signals can be the basis for a risk assessment, and rationalize the need for an alternative strategy. In a prior form, they can be the basis for scanning activity to track a scenario. The weak signal analysis team has tools for identifying current and potential weak signals.
Drivers and Constraints / Force Field Analysis
Drivers and constraints and force field analysis methodologies look at forces for change. They derive the factors and their relative strength going into a forecast of technology adoption, understanding of a disruptive event, or other issue. They form the basis of directed decisions in a strategy and differentiate scenarios.
Scenarios represent a powerful way to depict the future by using familiar paradigms of visuals and stories to show the broad range of people to be impacted. They also trigger innovative insights by presenting multiple views that can be used to understand convergences and distinctive differences. HBMG's scenario planning uses concepts of weak signals, tipping points, fine tuned events, and probability assessment in addition to the traditional approach to this methodology.
Risk Management Assessment
Many of our techniques are used in assessing the risk of a strategy. For example, the methodologies described for future perspectives that operate in the real world can be applied to the world envisioned by the strategy. Since it is imperative that a modern strategy include technology assumptions and impacts as well as leverage innovation, the knowledge and insight derived from tools and techniques used in innovation management to mitigate risk are also applicable for assessing risk.
SF&I Workshops and Training
Over the Horizon Seminars
One great future perspectives methodology is to organize a series of meetings with leading researchers for the organization and its partners to learn about pertinent technology that is emerging from their labs. This is the time in the technology readiness path where the technology can be shaped to meet the needs of a customer set in an more expeditious, focused, and less-risky way.
Grand Challenges Workshops
Understanding the future is a difficult process to jump start within a group. Diverse care-abouts, mindsets, and knowledge assets are needed to develop, communicate, and implement an organization’s strategy. Grand Challenges Workshops are used to get the organization’s stakeholders on the right starting block. When people realize and agree on the challenges facing the organization, it is easier for them to work on solutions together. The HBMG SI&F team organizes, conducts, and documents such workshops.
Planning for Technological Impact Seminars
This training is built to the specific needs and culture of the organization. This educational seminar is structured to provide insight that leads an organization to the realization that it must transform. The next step in planning is giving the organization the tools, cultural orientation, and incentive to make that transformation.
Collaborative Processes Training
Successful focusing projects involve input from every current and future stakeholder within the project’s scope. This involvement brings dividends in terms of the innovativeness and wisdom of the focus area selection, the sophistication of the resulting action plans, and the increase of buy-in. This involves learning to work collaboratively in a team of teams. Instruction in the new methods, tools, and techniques of collaboration is a valuable part of any focusing activity.
In any phase of a strategic or tactical planning endeavor, HBMG is available to move the effort forward. In a variety of settings, such as ideation sessions, small workshops, or conferences, the team's insights and tradecraft can be called on for point services to either conduct, train facilitators, or be an "out of the box" team member.
Technology Management Education
Technology management is a new competency for most organizations. HBMG’s Strategic Insights and Futures team has transferred years of experience in the field, frameworks it has developed, and tools it has built and refined into in-house education for this critical new business function. Beyond a stand-alone offering, this education package can be done in conjunction with project engagement to provide a basic level of skills and a vocabulary that can be used during the engagement and afterwards, assuring that the activity is sustainable.
Through an independent peer review of a strategy, strategic assessment, or even the strategy setting process itself, the team can enhance your strategy's future perspective resulting in increased buy-in and risk mitigation. The HBMG team is experienced in strategy setting, has a wide range of applicable knowledge in technology, organizational theory, and societal trends, and offers a fresh perspective in connecting the dots.
Business Simulation Games
These games are serious. Adapted from the world of video games and war games, they are a powerful way to engage people who are more action-oriented than cerebral. They can make a strategy more actionable, promote tighter collaboration between planner and implementer, and bring out additional innovative elements to the strategy. A valuable feature of this methodology is its ability to use remote collaboration to improve the time, efficiency, and scope of the strategy setting process.
Strategic Planning Education
It is important that people within an organization be equipped with the tradecraft to understand the future and find ways to harness it. Our training not only provides the tools for knowing the future, but it introduces methodologies to communicate strategic planning, and to organize collaborative teams for planning for the future.
Terrain Mapping of Markets and Technologies
Critical to finding the difference-makers in future strategies and plans is knowledge of the terrain the world is going to traverse in the future. Based on the concept of alternative scenarios, this service analyzes drivers and constraints, key future events, wild cards and tipping points, quantitative forecasts, and current research and industry activities. It provides likely probabilities of major scenarios and insights into what to do about each selected scenario.
A structured approach that we call "The Ladder" is applied to identify the most effective market for introducing a disruptive technology, determine a strategy for attacking the market that avoids dilution of ownership, and chart an implementation path. Using a number of tools, we uncover the potential, key requirements, value propositions, industry structure, and other information that lets the emerging technology company choose a first market while preparing for an easy fallback if needed.
Market Technology Matrix
For a large organization operating with a wide range of technologies (or potential technologies), it is important to balance the market and technology in a dynamic technology investment portfolio to equalize opportunity, appropriately allot resources, and meet corporate strategic goals. The market technology matrix is a unique HBMG approach to selecting the optimal mix of opportunities to pursue by assessing technology readiness, market potential, and strategic fit across all stages of definition from idea to a business case. This methodology, while structured, does not sacrifice innovation, first-to-market, buy-in, or completeness of solution.
Disruptive Technology Tracking
An organization needs to be constantly on the lookout for new technologies that could enhance the organization’s capabilities, or that may be a competitive threat. Based on knowledge of the organization's strategies and key programs, we use advanced scanning and surveillance techniques combined with experience in technology patterns to connect the dots between those technologies and their impact on your organization.
Technology Transfer Process Evaluation
The HBMG team will work with your science, research, and technology teams to create an actionable, market-focused, and risk-mitigated plan that can be communicated, measured, and adapted. Activities in this area include red teaming, ideation sessions, morphological analysis, process development, and brick wall analysis. Some of the unique approaches the team uses are multimedia content, transmitting science and technology concepts, and "over the horizon” programs, to bring breakthrough technologies to potential commercialization partners.
HBMG assists firms in creating all levels of roadmaps based on need: from product and technology, to market services, to asset/knowledge, to capabilities roadmaps. A roadmap is a remarkable communication tool that provides visibility into the impact of strategies and plans on all stakeholders in a shared vehicle. Roadmaps seek insights into alternative development paths, dependencies, and when to worry. The team helps clients in all phases of the roadmapping process, using its customizable framework built over the years from landmark projects such as the first National Semiconductor Industry Roadmap that was instrumental in the U.S. regaining leadership in the semiconductor industry, a mainstay in today’s digital convergence.
Strategy maps are good tools for communicating a strategy to the organization in terms of key metrics embodied in a scorecard that acknowledges both quantitative and qualitative measures. We have advanced this technique to address the new realities of capabilities targeting, collaboration within and without the organization, and future perspectives; all are necessary to make the strategy and its measures dynamic, actionable, and more understandable.
Strategic Foresight analyses bring the human side into technology trends. It also serves to involve a wide range of stakeholders and thinkers to create a more comprehensive, realistic, and accepted view of the future. Besides using the traditional tools of this methodology (Delphi surveys, scenario workshops, impact analysis, scenarios), we extend the activity to involve a more extensive use of tools such as advanced brainstorming techniques, care-about analysis, and weak signal analysis to make the resulting scenarios more complete and planning actions more appropriate.