How we imagine you using our premium environmental scanning service
Environmental scanning is basically the process of looking at what the present and future operating environment you or your organisation might face in order to think about strategy. Here are some of the ways that we imagine you might use our database:
You are thinking about a particular strategy for your organisation and want to do some preparation or strategic thinking, or challenge your people with some different views.
You are about to go into a strategic planning process and want to start looking at what the future operating environment will look like. We have tagged the majority of the items in the database with STEEP tags so you can use them as a starting point for doing that.
You are making a presentation to an industry conference, the board of your organisation, your staff, or your investors and want to create something which is future focused and looks at possible opportunities, threats and disruptions.
Article or Report Writing
You are writing an article for a company or industry newsletter, or for the general press and you are looking to present a forward view of what might happen.
You are running a brainstorming session for your people and want to provide some ideas and perspectives that might give the team a different point of view.
And here are some examples of how you might approach the database for insights:
Looking out for disruptive surprises
Go in and look for the posts that we have tagged with “disruption”. You will find a range of posts and articles that look at ways that industries, business models and even countries are being disrupted. Look at them and think through whether those disruptive forces could affect your organisation or industry. If you want to narrow down the search you can search by using “tag: disruption keyword”. This allows you to search for all the posts that we have tagged with disruption that contain the keyword you are looking for. For example you might be looking for disruption in education. Tip: Don’t narrow down your search all the time, you might not be in education but something which is disrupting education might also be dangerous to you.
Assumptions and Biases
The most dangerous thing that you can do is to make assumptions that skew your view of the world. It is what we believe with absolute certainty that is not actually true that causes us the most risk. Search for the items that we have tagged with “assumptions” or “biases” and see whether they challenge any of yours.
Search for what we have posted in the last 7 days and see if anything jumps out at you
Trends and Forecasts
Search for what we have tagged with “trends” or “forecasts” and see if they might have any impact on your organisation. Remember though that trends are just historical data and forecasts are often wrong so think more deeply about what the underlying forces are in order to get the most value
Search for items that we have tagged with “scenarios”. There are some interesting scenario reports in the database. Even if they are not specific to your industry or sector reading them and thinking about the logic that has gone into the construction of the story within the scenario can give you great insights into future challenges.
While we will email our insight articles to you once you are a subscriber you might want to look at articles that were written before you subscribed, or use the database as somewhere they are easy to find. We will tag all these articles with the tag “insight articles” so you can easily find them and look at them
 STEEP stands for Social/Cultural, Technology, Economic, Environment and Politics. It is a simple method for ensuring that when you are scanning your operating environment you are considering all of these areas. More detail on these sorts of systems can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PEST_analysis