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Strategic Plan Need a Pick-Me-Up? – Interview with Maree Conway

Maree Conway is an Australian-based foresight and strategy consultant, the founder of Thinking Futures, and author of the chapter “Foresight Infused Strategy – Using Foresight to Create Generative Thinking” in The Future of Business.

Below she discusses her chapter, her work, and what change she would make to ensure a better future for us all.

What is the focus of your chapter in The Future of Business?

My chapter focuses on a framework to use to integrate foresight approaches into existing strategy development processes. It’s about how to reinvigorate conventional strategic planning by including a systematic approach to using the future today. The framework is the Generic Foresight Process Framework which allows people to understand change shaping their organisation’s future, test individual and organisational assumptions underpinning beliefs about how an organisation’s future will evolve, exploring alternative possible futures to identify a preferred future and finally, using insights gained during this process to inform decision making and action today.

Tell us a little about yourself and what you do?

I help organisations reframe conventional strategic planning approaches with foresight thinking and methods with a renewed focus on the power of their people.

What future-oriented topics or issues are you focusing on currently?

I am researching the future university for my PhD which is both exciting and depressing because the university’s history is acting as a weight on its ability to move forward. In my business, I am looking at how foresight methods can be used in ways to help people develop their individual foresight capacities, and how best to integrate and connect those methods in a strategy development process.

If you could bring about one change in the world to ensure a positive future – what would it be?

To move beyond our current data/fact/evidence based decision making so that we, collectively, can begin to explore the possibility for our world rather than focusing on past performance and today’s short-term demands on our time and energy. I’m working to do this in organisations, and other groups are working to do the same thing in different domains. If we can escape the busyness of today to create a long term context, we will be able to accentuate the positive and mitigate the negative – proactively not today’s default of reaction.

 

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