I have believed since the late 1990s that there will eventually be a merger of market research with the more future-oriented “strategic foresight”. In fact, you can read my thinking about this here. (See pages 8 and 16.)
A new Boston Consulting Group report supports this thesis.
You can read it all here.
But, I highly recommend the grids in the appendix on pages 27 and 28. Here BCG charts what it sees as the evolution of the MR function:
1. Traditional MR Function
2. Business Contribution Team
3. Strategic Insight Organization
4. Strategic Foresight Organization (see also page 12)
Unfortunately, BCG posits that “almost 90% of companies are in stages 1 and 2″.
In my opinion, this means that over time there will be a much stronger demand for data-driven foresight tools (like Delphi panels and futures markets – possibly loaded into MROCs) in the United States. And this demand won’t be limited to the government and large institutions, as it has in the past.
Why will we see this demand?
Because corporations will come to the conclusion that the only way to jump ahead of competitors (BCG refers to “leapfrogging”) is to (1) study the possible, probable and preferred futures, (2) build plans and future business lines around this futuring, and (3) contingency plan for wildcards – those low probability, high impact events that bring change quickly.
In fact, I believe that at some point in the future most corporations will have small wild card futuring teams responsible for (a) identifying potential wildcards and (b) building contingency plans around them with the focus on turning wildcard events into significant business-building opportunities.
For a taste of what I mean by wildcards, click here.