Breakthrough Marketing Strategy …
in a Rapidly Changing Market

The biotechnology start-up had everything going for it: A brilliant, dedicated team of scientists and technologists, an excellent reputation and strong clinical trial results, plenty of cash in the bank and solid grasp of their competitors in the field.
There was every reason to believe they would be able to deliver the breakthrough that could completely treat a rare, genetically inherited disease. If they could, they would eliminate entirely the potential complications of current treatments.
Disruption Snuck Up…
And then, they hit a snag. While they were watching out for their business competitors, two unexpected, non-traditional ‘competitors’ snuck up: Existing treatments improved and new, potentially revolutionary technologies emerged. They needed a new way to assess their market strategy for newly dynamic and less predictable business environment.
Strategic foresight — the mindsets and tools that futurists use to identify signals of potential change at an early stage, and to uncover possibilities on the periphery—became the answer. Prescient provided frameworks and activities that could:

  • Inspire innovative thinking about how the market might change in the coming 5-7 years
  • Prompt a readiness to explore alternative pathways to future success
  • Help identify potential ‘black swan’ events that might emerge from outside the biotechnology domain

These included a customized game that used dice to randomize potential events and to quickly produce roughly sketched scenarios as provocations: What would the team do if developments went in an unexpected direction?

Although some of the changes to the strategy discussion conventions were simple, the results were anything but. New ways of thinking and planning were introduced into a traditional setting, generating new marketing strategy options.


Workshop setting; changed typical seating arrangements

Worked through implications of current developments using foresight techniques

Generated a ‘game’ involving dice, potential competitor or other breakthroughs and industry and external wildcards. Cards ‘played’ then created discussion

Simulation game asked participants to role play their future selves in the conditions dealt by the game


Simple change reorients conditions and lays stage for relating and thinking differently

Primes participants to think into future alternatives, to explore potentialities that had not been considered, loosen current narrative

Develops realistic framework for uncertainty of technological timing, introduces chance

Being asked to inhabit future self rather than think ‘about’ future situation begins to generate alternative visions of the future

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