Navigating the Future

Discover how to navigate the future of business strategy with insights and tools from Stay ahead of the curve and drive success.


  1. Anticipating the future
  2. Acting in the future
  3. Getting ahead of the future

Navigating the FutureAs strategists, we are focused on the future. That is where our strategies will succeed or fail.

But how should we think about the future?

Anticipating the future

We can't predict or know the future. There are simply too many variables to take into account. An algorithm complex enough to predict the future would need to be as complex (and large) as the universe itself.

We can anticipate the future. And that is something we should aim to do. But when anticipating something you can't predict it is inevitable that we need to anticipate multiple outcomes. This is where scenario planning comes into play. Scenario planning is a methodology for anticipating (and planning around) multiple plausible futures.

For example, we can't predict the outcome of a democratic election (as much as the pollsters would like us to believe that they can!)

But you can probably anticipate that one of the main political parties will be successful. And you can probably anticipate what they will try and do if they are. This insight can be fed into scenarios for the future.

Futurists are engaged in anticipating the future and developing such scenarios, amongst other things. But they don't generally decide what to do about it.

Acting in the future

That is where strategists come into play. Strategists need to make decisions about the future.

Some argue that the strategist's role is to create the future. Whilst we may be able to create aspects of it, the future itself is too vast to control in this way.

So most of the time we need to we need to anticipate and prepare for the future. We call that navigating the future. (Hence the name

Getting ahead of the future

Legendary Canadian ice hockey player Wayne Gretsky described the key to his success as "I skate to where the puck is going to be".

Similarly, we want our strategies to keep our organisations ahead of events, not always scrambling to respond and keep up.

We need to anticipate the future and then position ourselves proactively.

How far ahead we need to look generally depends on how quickly we can move.

For example, achieving net zero will take decades of innovation and investment. So we need to look decades ahead in order to decide what to do now if we hope to achieve it.

In contrast, some software organisations (and their competitors) can launch new features within weeks. So their need (an ability) to look ahead at how their product should evolve may be shorter-term.

Most organisations will have a combination of time horizons to consider in their strategic thinking for different aspects of their business, forcing them to balance their priorities between the short, medium and long term. provides a full suite of integrated tools to help you navigate your organisation's future.

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Published: 2024-06-18  |  Updated: 2024-06-18