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Future-Proofing the Organisation

One of the big difficulties in these times is knowing what is ‘coming down the line’. Technology in particular and society in general is moving at such speed that it is difficult to develop planning, mitigate against risks or indeed spot opportunities. Future proofing the organisation has become a major issue. Much has been written about ‘strategic shocks’ and ‘strategic surprises’, so-called Black Swan events, the negative side to not being aware of future trends.

Many organisations and leaders today are questioning their strategy, in part due to the huge shocks that have occurred in recent years, particularly the financial crisis that began in 2007.  

But there are ways to prepare oneself and ones organisation. The Ryan Academy is aware of such issues which is why we have developed a foresight and future trends two-day module on the 25th and 26th of March. This module is designed to help organisations, including those involved in policy, strategic planning, or entrepreneurs seeking the next market wave. It is useful too for the social sector, as the organisations and policy makers here need to be able to discern the future and make preparations for it.

We have persuaded one of the top futurist planners in Europe to come to Dublin to do a two-day workshop on how to identify future trends. Sheila Moorcroft is Director Research for Tomorrow, Today, and has over 20 years experience
in futures research. Sheila specialises in identifying and assessing the potential (and constraints) of ‘soft’ changes – social change and changing values and attitudes – likely to affect the development of new markets and the application of new technologies. Her approach to futures relies heavily on workshops to create new insights by integrating wide-ranging knowledge together with research findings. Sheila works extensively across the private and public sector.

In the more extreme cases, many of these ‘black swan’ events or strategic shocks can be identified in advance. Events such as Pearl Harbour, 9/11 or even the economic meltdown had advance warnings if one knew where to look and how to piece together the information.

The fact is, it is often the smaller trends that catch us out – not necessarily the seismic shifts. Whether it is future-proofing the organisation against risk or seeking out new opportunities, this is something we all need to think about.

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