Arthur W. Page Society

Embracing Uncertainty: The Power of Strategic Foresight in a Changing World

June 7: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

The theme of uncertainty was central in the 2023 Page International Exchange in Brussels, and for good reason; from geopolitical shifts to sustainability and digital transformations, planning for uncertainties in this environment can feel impossible. The final session of the 2023 Page International Exchange gave insights to help CCOs plan to plan for increasing levels of ambiguity.

The session featured Margareta Drzeniek, Managing Partner of Horizon Group, as the keynote speaker, with Barry Lustig, CEO of The Cormorant Group, moderating the conversation.

Below are some actionable insights discussed during the conversation.

The Power of Strategic Foresight

Strategic foresight is a toolkit that enables businesses to anticipate and analyze future scenarios, helping them make informed decisions today. With its roots in geopolitical analysis, strategic foresight is a useful framework in both domestic and international contexts. It doesn't aim to predict the future, but rather challenges assumptions and expands the scope of potential outcomes. By embracing uncertainty and exploring different possibilities, organizations can widen their strategic choices and identify risks that might disrupt their business models.

Cultural and Value Shifts

A notable trend is the rise of economic power in more authoritarian countries, where governments exert significant control. Communicators need to recognize that organizations’ values vary depending on their location, often aligning with their home country’s expressed values. Additionally, companies must be wary of foreign governments using disinformation tactics to sway and polarize the public. Manipulation through misinformation and the influence of emotions over facts can have far-reaching implications for companies' communication strategies.

Paradigm Shift Between Business and Government

The relationship between businesses and governments is undergoing a paradigm shift worldwide. As more goods and trade flow through different countries, the dynamics and expectations between companies and governments vary significantly. Organizations must understand and adapt to the different values and priorities to build effective communication strategies.

Supply Chain Realignment and ESG Focus

The global supply chain continues to transform; since the pandemic, organizations are moving away from efficiency-driven approaches to prioritize resilience, national security, and sustainability. Companies are diversifying supply chains and shifting focus towards environmental, social, and governance (ESG) objectives. However, this transition can be challenging in emerging markets where values and priorities differ significantly from the West.

Final Thoughts

As economic and geopolitical conditions evolve, and the consumption of information becomes increasingly emotional, communicators must find innovative ways to deliver fact-based and impactful messages in a way that can compete with the noise. Understanding the value differences among demographics, especially the younger generation, becomes vital for businesses looking to engage diverse stakeholders effectively.

NOTE: This blog combined Generative AI with human-taken notes to synthesize the key takeaways.

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