Futures thinking techniques: Dealing with uncertainty at the front end of innovation

Joern Henning Buehring, Joseph Voros (Other)

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review


In this more competitive second decade of the 21st century, meeting the demands of rapid social and technological change is forcing continued attention to the organization’s vision and strategic direction of dealing with uncertainty in the external business environment. While most product or service innovations are focused on meeting current market needs, applying futures thinking to the medium and longer-term future (5-15 years) of science, technology, social and the economic environment, has become essential as future outcomes can be influenced by the choices made in the present (Adegbile, Sarpong, & Meissner, 2017; R. Slaughter, 1995). Against this background, the value of futures thinking at the early phase of innovation, warrants attention as the front end of innovation is recognized as an important success driver of the business. Making sense of uncertainty is particularly relevant when technological advances, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data analytics and hybrid human-machine systems, could play a vital role for mature organizations to sustain the effectiveness of their strategic innovations, and the enterprise itself. Drawing from varying futures thinking perspectives in design and foresight disciplines, this workshop is designed to introduce conference delegates to futures thinking theories and techniques applied to the medium to long-term time horizons (5-15 years) of strategic innovation practices. Adding practical dimensions, workshop participants will further benefit from their active learning experiences through a case study example of a recent futures study in the financial services industry to the year 2030.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationISPIM Innovation Summit: Melbourne 2017: Building the Innovation Century
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2017


  • Workshop Presentation
  • Futures Thinking


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