Strategic Foresight for Small Business Owners

How to develop and use Strategic Foresight to help you prepare for the future of your small business, with futurist Rebecca Ryan.

Rebecca Ryan - Futurist & Entrepreneur

As an entrepreneur, how can I possibly predict the future and anticipate and prepare for the impact on my small business? Rebecca Ryan explains how, without a magical crystal ball, she helps her clients see what’s coming.

Rebecca Ryan is a noted top 50 professional futurist, economist, best-selling author and entrepreneur. As the founder of NEXT Generation Consulting, she empowers organizations to create bold and ambitious futures. Rebecca is a graduate of Drake University with a certificate in Strategic Foresight from University of Houston and she is on the Executive Committee of the global Association of Professional Futurists.

Rebecca lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

Strategic Foresight for Small Business Owners: 

  • Rebecca shares the story of her early career and what led to starting her own firm.
  • Why did you decide to become a futurist and focus on helping other with strategic foresight? 
  • Why are you a business owner? What does it provide you?
  • What does a professional futurist do?
  • Why is it important to predict multiple plausible futures? Rebecca helps business owners predict four aspirational futures: a business as usual future, a challenging future, and two aspirational futures for the future of the business.
  • Please introduce the Foresight Process:
    • Sensing – What’s happening in here? Out there?
    • Imagining – What could happen?
    • Defining – What do we want to happen what will it take to get there?
    • Doing – How can we get started and keep momentum?
  • What’s the difference between Strategic Planning and Strategic Foresight?
  • How can a small business owner execute on strategic foresight with limited resources (i.e. limited data, limited budget for futurists, etc.)?
  • What’s one thing I can do as a small business owner to get better at anticipating future impacts on my small business?
    • “I also recommend practicing some techniques to soften your mind and begin thinking like a futurist, by practicing noticing and setting up a signals and sense-making practice.”
    • What are some of the “signals” we should look for in business?
  • Please share your thoughts on the future of remote workers?
  • How can I become better at predicting the future, and developing my strategic foresight, to lead my small business:
    • Broaden your inputs – including seeing different people and environments.
    • Pay better attention to everything around you.
    • Start noticing the signals of the future that are all around you.

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