Foresight Communications Strategy
Having an aspirational vision of the future is not enough. Having a strategy or policy is not enough.
If you want to change the way that people approach the future, you must provide them with a new story about their reality.
Any meaningful vision of a future that differs from today requires a change in human behavior. People change their behavior when they change the story they tell themselves about their reality.
We call this story a strategic narrative, an intentional, compelling story that connects the enduring values of your organization to a story of change to demonstrate how you will not only endure, but adapt and innovate to thrive in new conditions.
We believe that strategically modeling new behaviors through communications should be a part of every foresight project, and we incorporate it into all of our activities.
Our foresight communications offerings
Communications that help people transition from an old way of thinking and behaving to a new one begin with a transformational vision, which can be developed using strategic foresight tools, such as trends research and scenario planning. Yet, it cannot end there. In order to be compelling enough to be adopted, a new vision must have an organic and meaningful connection to the past as well. Our communications practice revolves around building a bridge between the past and the bold new future.
Generate a foundational strategic narrative that contains a compelling story to bridge your company’s past to your desired future.
Uncover “micro-stories” within your organization to support the transformation initiative.
Refine and test the narrative with
different stakeholder groups.
Develop strategic communications
for both internal use and public-facing venues.
Map the larger communications environment through which your intended message will flow.
Build skills among your team members so that they can take over the work of communicating your organizational transformation moving forward.
The 4 elements of a strategic narrative
- A strong institutional identity
- A shared understanding of what is changing in the external environment
- An aspirational vision for thriving in future conditions
- Value is placed on participatory and open-ended conditions that permit people to engage in ways that make sense to them
To fulfill a strategic role, an institutional narrative must have four essential qualities
The power of strategic narrative
We learned that an organization is defined by its narrative, and the ability to strategically take ownership of that narrative is invaluable.
The insights elicited crystalized two major things for us: an understanding of each individual’s separate piece and perspective of our shared past narrative, and practical methods for discussing, defining, and shaping our future story.
Jayson Blair, Managing Partner
Goose Creek Consulting
” … At the end of the first day, I said to the organizers, you have to learn a new methodology, Strategic Narrative. At the end of the day, I asked everyone what they had learned and one said, ‘My takeaway from this is the idea of strategic narrative. We can choose our future story.’ Almost every day, I ask people to change the way they tell their story, and they always learn something new, just from changing their narrative. This is the power of what Amy does.”
Guy Levi, Chief Innovation Officer
Center for Educational Technology
Read the definitive guide:
A Framework for Accelerating Innovation
“When we shift our stories–the interpretive lenses through which we understand our past, present, and the still unfolding future–we generation a new way of understanding our relationships, our motivations, and our purpose. This opens up the space for innovation, even in entrenched systems. The opportunity to stop doing what is no longer useful and to generate new behaviors, policies, processes and actions becomes possible.” –from the guide
Organizational vision is important, but a strongly held story of who we are and why, takes team performance and engagement to a whole different level. Strategic narrative is powerful. Amy Zalman’s book is rich with important ideas and practical advice for how to take on something critically important to every organization. Well done and highly recommended
– Steven Kenney, Founder & Principal, Foresight Vector LLC
Quotes from the book will live on my whiteboard for the duration of my professional career.
– Melonie Richey, Technical Program Manager