Bringing True Strategic Foresight Back to Business.

Amy Webb

By Amy Webb

I recently sat down with the CEO of a large corporation, who asked a peculiar question: Would I rather have a crystal ball that always showed me the future, or a chessboard that always told me the right strategy? He’s a sharp, curious thinker, who likes to debate — but on this day, he was mulling an urgent problem.

While the company was the undisputed leader among its competitors, the CEO was growing concerned about outside disruptors. He worried that his leadership team wasn’t thinking broadly enough about how the macro forces shaping society would eventually impact the business landscape. Managers weren’t surfacing bold, new ideas, and amid all the uncertainty brought by artificial intelligence, inflation, and the post-Covid workforce they weren’t willing to take strategic risks.

Meanwhile, the company had become adept at strategy execution — testing competitor responses, selecting new technology vendors, building certain capabilities — but they were only chasing incremental wins. Throughout the company, managers weren’t willing to use foresight to plan beyond a few quarters, fearing that any decisions today could be wrong tomorrow.

Read full Harvard Business Review article.
Amy Webb is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at NYU Stern School of Business.