Too often the future gets ignored. Business executives are head down, busy solving problems and putting out fires. But that can risk neglecting longer-term change and opportunity, especially in a transforming world.
And change often comes from outside a sector. It’s easy for even accomplished professionals to miss new risks and especially new opportunities for growth and excellence. Packaging, often regarded as a cost center, and operational in its outlook, gets pulled away from more visionary thinking to keep production going. The gap widens.Learning how to bridge the gap
Since the late 1990s, the Future of Packaging (FoP) team has worked to bridge that gap. With the tools of foresight, we bring a story of long-term change and potential home to packaging executives’ reality. We answer: What does that future mean right now?
Any organization can up its game as it faces uncertainty and opportunity. Packaging foresight—which gives this newsletter its name—is key.
- think beyond your immediate horizon
- explore the future with colleagues, collaboration partners, and even customers
- bring to that exploration a clear vision of what’s possible and what’s desirable. If you do so, you get to make your own future
The promise of foresight – vision first
A goal and purpose of our ongoing future of packaging work and this newsletter is to bring a clear focus on the challenges, opportunities, and potential for packaging.
Foresight moves you beyond day-to-day management to identify what’s possible at least 5 or 10 years out. The biggest value in a view of the future is understanding what to do right now. That’s the spirit and goal of our work exploring the future of packaging.
Success means doing thinking you don’t normally do. Getting a payoff from transformational thinking is about pulling cross-functional groups together and imagining. It is not about catching up to today nor is it only about putting new processes in place in substitution for existing processes.
Why engage in transformational thinking?
1). chart your course towards new opportunity
2). Recognize, plan, and strategize for disruptive change
3). explore and test assumptions and choices against emerging change and potential futures
What’s critical in this is to put vision first. In our regular multi-sponsor deep-dive explorations of the future of packaging, we start with a view of the future. Then we flesh out what that can look like and what it means for packaging organizations. And only then do we identify concrete actions and strategies.
- Give time, attention, and priority to explore future potential and envisioning your place in it
- Bring others into your thinking; for their valuable perspectives and for their buy-in on future plans
- A lot of opportunities will come via collaboration outside your organization, so look for partners on the outside to explore the future with
- Make the future clear, concrete, and compelling by fleshing out your views with scenarios portraying future outcomes
- Consider futures that you want to have. (Move out of reaction and toward positive action).
- But don’t neglect potential futures less in your control that will shape what you do
- Identify specific challenges and opportunities and draw implications from them
- Use your visions to make a strategy to drive to your successful future