Designed by Sapience Consulting. Copyright © Sapience Consulting 2010

Sapience Consulting

Making sense of an uncertain world

Sapience Consulting Home

Can you really “Measure the Future”

The term “measuring the future” is of course tongue in cheek. That said for many organisations the key questions are about the future rather than the past.

Our experience tells us that no one single technique can articulate the future with any degree of confidence.

To address this we offer a basket of tools and techniques that together can give you a well grounded view of the future.

What about trend analysis?

What’s the next number in the series 1, 1.1, 1.2? The smart guess is 1.3 that is what trend analysis tells us.  However the lack of warning of the recent economic crash demonstrates the limitations of this technique.

Some econometric models try to address this by incorporating macro economic data.

However we believe that such techniques cannot provide any kind of detailed insight into the effect of real-world events.


Monitoring for expected and unexpected change is sometimes called horizon scanning. As its name suggests this technique identifies the early beginnings of a change of interest to you.

Our principal has experience of using a software tool to automate the collection and analysis of web published information. Such software is not for every organisation or business he would be more than happy to share his experiences with you.

Did I “get it right”

This is often asked after scenario planning events  and is ultimately the wrong question. Effective scenario planning identifies possibilities and horizon scanning tells you which of the possibilities is coming about.

Emerging trends

Horizon scanning can also be a valuable input into your your research process by identifying emerging trends and technologies that have the potential to drive change in your environment.

Modelling and calculations

At its simplest modelling is doing a calculation on existing data.

Models can be complex spread sheets or full blown web based applications with multiple inputs and scenario handling capabilities.

Most organisations don't need large complex models and a simple spreadsheet can provide valuable insights.

We are always pleased have to have a chat about how modelling can help your understanding of the future.

Scenario planning

A scenario is a vision of the future. To be a useful business tool a scenario needs discipline: internally consistent, repeatable, and relate to an business issue.

Scenarios come in two types: Vision and Decision. The former focuses on longer term strategic decisions while the latter informs shorter term tactical decisions.

Experience tells us that the future will be made up of elements of a number of scenarios. The challenge is to monitor which elements are coming about.

It’s more than just a project

We know that any of the key elements of “measuring the future” can be carried out as a stand-alone project, and have real value.

However we believe the best value solution is to use all three techniques over a period of time to establish an evolving picture of the future which informs your strategy and decision making.

Our offer

We are more than happy to “measure the future” on your behalf. We have the experience to establish and deliver a programme which will give give you the insight into the future that you need to plan effectively.

If you prefer we are more than happy to work with you establish your own in-house capability.

Horizon Scanning