Foresight Toolbox mit Max Stucki (Futures Platform)

Im Smart Podcast unterhalte ich mich mit Max Stucki über Foresight, Szenarien, Workshops und die Foresight Toolbox der finnischen Foresight Beratung Futures Platform.

Max Stucki
(c) Max Stucki

Wer sich mit , Foresight und Innovation aktiv beschäftigt, braucht Tools, um damit zu arbeiten, idealerweise gemeinschaftlich unter Einbeziehung von Experten und Expertinnen im Unternehmen und darum herum. Max Stucki ist Foresight Berater bei der Foresight Beratung Futures Platform. Das Gespräch mit Max Stucki ist auf Englisch.

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Max Stucki: Exactly. And that is a very good way of putting it because it is very easy to think that one person has the right answer or like that one person has the right vision of the within a company. For example, if there is a very strong leadership of the company, they may have very fixed or… and in themselves maybe very good opinions on how the future looks for the organization. But indeed, the future is always very surprising. So engaging people from all around the organization to get their input and views, what they are seeing currently in their tasks and how they interpret and forecast the future, it makes the picture much, much more complete.

Klaus Reichert: Innovation, Weiterdenken und Zukunft einfach machen.

Hallo Klaus Reichert hier! Ich bin unabhängiger Unternehmensberater und für Innovation und Business Design.

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Mein Gesprächspartner ist Max Stucki. Es geht um die Foresight Toolbox der finnischen Beratung Futures Platform. Wer sich mit Zukunft, Foresight und Innovation aktiv beschäftigt, braucht Tools, um damit zu arbeiten, idealerweise gemeinschaftlich unter Einbeziehung von Experten und Expertinnen im Unternehmen und darum herum. Max Stucki ist Foresight Berater bei der Foresight Beratung Futures Platform in . Das Gespräch mit Max ist auf Englisch.
Hallo Max, schön, dass Du heute mit dabei bist!

Max Stucki: Freut mich, hier zu sein.

Klaus Reichert: Hello, Max. It's great to have you, great to have that conversation. It's sort of a… like a second part to another episode that we did a few weeks ago. We will put the link into the show notes so people can listen to the other episode of our conversation that we have. But just in case people didn't listen to that, tell us a bit about yourself, please.

Max Stucki: So my name is Max Stucki, as mentioned, and I work as Foresight Analysis Manager at Futures Platform, a Finland-based company specializing in strategic foresight. We have basically two things that we do. First is that we develop and maintain a digital foresight tool that helps organizations and also individuals to engage in systematic foresight work with very little initial knowledge of foresight. And we also do foresight , meaning that we deliver foresight related projects to our customers, whether those are about scenarios, horizon scanning or foresight capability building. It doesn't really matter what the foresight needs are. We are usually able to deliver on all aspects of the field.

Klaus Reichert: And I think that's one of these very interesting things about your firm. You have that foresights platform as a tool that you offer, plus you offer additional services, consulting services, which is probably very, very valuable, especially if you start your journey into foresight work as a company.

Max Stucki: Indeed, indeed. And the consulting services are aimed at helping organizations to start their foresight activities. And it is our aim and our goal to help organizations to continue the foresight work on their own after the project.

Klaus Reichert: In Finland, foresight is kind of a big thing. Why do you think is that?

Max Stucki: Well, that's an excellent question, and I've been trying to think that myself also. Just a little bit of background: in Finland, we have the Futures Research Center at Turku University, that specializes in future studies of foresight and also in our parliament we have the Futures Committee, that is a permanent committee of the parliament that always gives views on… like foresight related views on various changes and matters that will affect the future of Finland. But to get back to your question, I think in many ways because we are very small nation of only 5.5 million, we have always had to be aware of what is going on in our surroundings and how it could affect our people, because for the smaller nations, the way to survive and to prosper is to really take into account what happens and act accordingly. So I think it has something to do with that. But also, in many ways, the Finnish culture is such, I think, maybe shaped by the rather harsh conditions in which we have lived for a long time, but we need to take account of how the next year will look like, whether we'll have enough food, for example, over the winter and for the spring. So it is kind of inbuilt, in that sense, in our culture, in our ethos, if you will.

Klaus Reichert: I very much understand that notion about the food because I think there's a big difference between, let's say, a very Nordic, Scandinavian country, that definitely has to take care of provisions for the cold time when you can't even go outside, for example, because the weather is so harsh compared to say something like Sicily, where it's always kind of warm and there's always growing something that you could eat. I mean, this is a very, very oversimplification, but I think it shows some… it makes it better to understand.

Max Stucki: indeed. I think that hits the spot pretty well.

Klaus Reichert: So, what does foresight, for you, mean? What does… for your firm, how do you define foresight?

Max Stucki: So foresight… Well, we could start from the academic definitions of which there are several, but, like, what is common to all those, and I think what our firm also shares is that foresight is a capability, it's an ability to study the ways in which the future, the coming years, for example, or even in some cases coming decades, could unfold. And it's about being able to systematically think about the future. So foresight needs to be systematic, it is based on the current data that we have, current and historic data that we have, and it is about making logical inferences and deductions from that data to understand that, okay, what we could be facing in the future and what actions we should take to, for example, mitigate the potential future risks or seize the opportunities. But foresight also has the aspect that it should be continuous. So there is… the idea is not to make one of projects or one of reports, for example, about the future and how we see it now, but we should be revising those views all the time and also realigning our actions. Or for example, if we're talking about organizations, then strategies based on how we understand the future to be. And… to put it very simply, foresight is about the ability to maintain a coherent, forward view and to understand what that view means for your organization or, for example, for you individually.

Klaus Reichert: But that means that first of all, you have to do that, you have to do that thinking, that working with foresight/future related things. You have to kickstart that in your company. Then you have to have people that look into that and they have to do it continuously. Is that correct?

Max Stucki: That is correct indeed. And of course, if we think of foresight as a human capability, we all think more or less about the future every day. For example, we may look at the weather report and then we take the umbrella because we anticipate that it could rain. So in many ways, foresight is very human. But when done on an organizational level, of course, the amount of factors that need to be considered, it is many orders of magnitude higher than what we face in our day-to-day lives. That means that in organizations it really takes either a dedicated person or more… rather a team, if you will, that is engaged in continuously scanning the horizon, so doing the horizon scanning, to understand what could be those changes or trends or wild cards or weak signals that could affect the organization and that necessitate an organizational response.

That's one way of looking at foresight in an organization. But then there is also the other side, because the horizon scanning is very reactive. It's about the organization being aware of the potential future changes. But the foresight team can also answer questions posted by, for example, the company leadership or whoever may have a question about the potential future of some topic. So setting up the foresight function requires the training, the individuals and of course hiring the team or then having one fully dedicated person and then some people who contribute along their other activities.

Klaus Reichert: And, and then you also need all these extra things. You need tools, you need data…

Max Stucki: Yeah. Exactly.

Klaus Reichert: …you need to have some sort of processes to get the right questions, to get the right people on board, and also to get into action, to sort of make something with that information. Grab the umbrella or the sunscreen or whatever.

Max Stucki: Yeah. Exactly. And one thing and one theme that comes up continually when working with foresight is that, well, first of all, even though foresight as a field has existed for the past eight years roughly, it is only now being established, especially in companies, more portly. And one thing that always comes up is that there is the understanding that we need foresight, but that understanding may reside only in, maybe, the top leadership or in some person who is enthusiastic about this. And there is always, or very often, let's say, the theme of engagement, like how to get others engaged in this and understand the value of foresight. And it's actually, if you can organize a couple of workshops in which you get the people and stakeholders engaged and they can provide their insights, the value is proven. The people see how it works and they understand what the benefits are. But the very interesting thing is, really, that at this moment in which we are living, there is really the stakeholder engagement and getting their buy-in is currently really, at least in my opinion, a big topic in the foresight field.

Klaus Reichert: So what you're saying is, believing in is, you believe not in the one person that has the truth in the company about the future…

Max Stucki: Yes.

Klaus Reichert: …but you believe in finding pictures, ideas, collecting data, and working with that in terms of a team, making that accessible to a lot of people, basically to make it accessible for a network of people, ideally.

Max Stucki: Exactly. And that is a very good way of putting it because it is very easy to think that one person has the right answer or like the one person has the right vision of the future within a company. For example, if there is a very strong leadership of the company, they may have very fixed… and in themselves maybe very good opinions on how the future looks for the organization. But indeed, the future is always very surprising. So engaging people from all around the organization to get their input and views, what they are seeing currently in their tasks and how they interpret and forecast the future, it makes the picture much, much more complete. And of course, gathering data is essential. That is what we know now. So we really need to have it at hand to say something sensible about the future. When gathering all this and making it available throughout the organization, it helps, first of all, to see what the current situation is, but also how we think about the future and what are the things that we maybe should be taking into account, for example, when we are doing strategic planning for the next five or even 10 years, if we are engaging in some more… quite massive projects. So there really needs to be… the things need to be thought out beforehand.

Klaus Reichert: So it's a bigger task. It's something that is ongoing. We need that. We need some tools, we need some sort of perspective.

Max Stucki: Exactly.

Klaus Reichert: What would be a good perspective, drawing from your experience? Is it like… is five years enough? Or should it be a longer period in the future, say 10 or 20 years to look at?

Max Stucki: I think that is one of the… how would I say… enduring questions, [Klaus laughs] because there is an understanding that the next maybe three years, one to three years. If you are deep into the industry, you have a pretty good view on the next one to three years. You have a pretty good view. Of course, there are wild cards that happen from time to time and that really change the situation. But that's a rule of thumb. So one to three years. When we are going five years out, then things start getting more murky. And that starts to be the point that, okay, after three years, maybe, we really need to start doing foresight because 5 years, or 3, 5, 10 years is enough time. The trends can shift in that time and, and we can see even quite significant changes. I would say that everything from three years and out, but if you are operating in a field in which there is a lot of uncertainty, then of course, smaller time frames are worthwhile studying from the perspective of foresight. But it's really… it comes down to your industry and what you want to achieve with the foresight at the current moment, like, do you really want to understand the future or how it will change in the longer term? Or are you looking at the future from some maybe medium term plans perspective? So it really depends on their tasks at the time.

Klaus Reichert: Let's say you work with something five years into the future. That's a pretty long time, basically. Things can happen, lots of things can happen. Do you think you have to be “right” with your foresight work? Does it have to be the truth or..? Should it be exact, the future, or would it be okay if you're not right at all with your… in your work or in the work of such a team? Do they have to be right with their foresight work?

Max Stucki: That's a very good question. And the common understanding, of course, is that nobody gets the future exactly right. It is just impossible because we are… humans are limited in our cognitive and intellectual capacity. However, based on my experience and based on things that at least I have read, is that we have a pretty good ability to actually get many developments quite right. For example, let's take… well this is quite an obvious example, but let's take the pandemic. Even though nobody knew the exact timing, we knew that it would come at some point. It was pretty obvious. The timing was something that was harder to get right. But on the other hand, if we are considering other topics, for example, if we are studying demographics or, maybe, the movements within a country where people are moving and if we have a good view on the present, we can, with pretty good accuracy, say that what will happen in the next maybe 5 or even 10 years, if we're considering demographics. But the aim is not to be right. For example, if we consider scenarios that are very widely used in foresight, and they're very illustrative here. If we consider scenarios… for many, they think that, okay, this, when we create the scenario, this is a prediction of the future. This is how it's going to happen. But that is not the case. The scenarios are constructed so that we can understand the alternative ways the future can happen. And then from those alternative scenarios, we can understand that there are common themes in all scenarios. So from the common themes, we can say that, okay, these are things that will probably happen anyway. It doesn't really matter how the world goes. These are the things that will probably happen anyway, and we can identify, for example, catastrophic risks. So there are things that can't go wrong in some scenarios, but they are by nature so significant that even though the likelihood of them being realized is rather low, there are such that we need to prepare for them anyway because if we don't and they happen it can, for example, mean the ruin of the company or the organization. So it's not really about being right, but it's about being able to understand what's meaningful and significant in any case, however the future unfolds. So what are the things that we should really focus on, our efforts in the coming years, for example?

Klaus Reichert: So it does help us as an organization to ask questions, to think about the future, to get the obvious, understand the obvious things, and then get into action at least for these obvious things. And maybe once in a while we get some extra things that really, really give us some special insights or with these special insights we are able to do something really special and that will help us, for example, with new products or something like that.

Max Stucki: Exactly. And I would really like to highlight when you said „asking the right questions”. That is central. That indeed is central and when doing foresight, one of the key things that should be done -it can be a little bit difficult but…- is to challenge the… you would say “official future” or, in a sense, how people think that future will be. They think that, okay, in the next 35 years, this is how it's going to go down. And those mindsets can be quite fixed and they affect always the way in which we act when we are acting toward accomplishing or doing some plan. And foresight should always provide the space to ask the questions “is this really the case? Is this how the future will happen? Is this our, maybe, our fixation?” in a sense that this is something that we have thought for a very long time that this is how it will be. And of course, when we have such… when our mind is calibrated in that way, it can mean that we can overlook some very, very important data. And foresight should challenge the existing thinking patterns. And that is one of the most important things that foresight really can do. But, however, it can be difficult because challenging thinking is always difficult. But foresight provides a room for that, for example, by organizing workshops in which we can suspend for a while our usually ordinary thinking and engage in, let's say, horizon scanning or some kind of analysis of the trends, or for example, scenarios that are the most common and well known application of this kind of approach towards existing thought.

Klaus Reichert: Okay, let's talk about that. I mean, what we basically need is like every other trade or thing that we do in a company: we need the tools, we need a toolbox, we need some sort of process, we need some sort of practice and… What would that be? Let's talk about your foresight toolbox.

Max Stucki: Yeah.

Klaus Reichert: Maybe, along with some sort of sample project, you have started to… you have talked about the Futures Platform as a platform and your consulting work. Please give us an idea of how that could come together over a period of, say, like an initial period of a project and then along over, say, two or three years.

Max Stucki: So a sample kind of project to…

Klaus Reichert: Yes.

Max Stucki: …to deliver our understanding. Right. Well, if we think… -in very general terms, but these apply I think quite nicely- is that when we start working with a client, the first thing is, of course, to understand what their foresight needs are and what they want to achieve and also what is their current understanding of foresight and what is their current level of futures thinking. So futures thinking in very broad terms we can understand, is how they relate to future, how they view it. So we get a glimpse on what we are working here with from the start. But if we go then to much more practical steps is that we usually start with a project that involves horizon scanning. We use our Futures Platform tool for that. We try to… In horizon scanning we're engaging some group of people from the organization, some stakeholders, very usually at least the foresight team, and then some additional people, for example, from the management or innovation team. And we conduct the horizon scanning, after which we have a… we use the foresight radar as a term. We have a shared view of what people think are the key trends, key change drivers, wild cards, weak signals and so forth, that will affect the future, either of the organization or then if we are considering, for example, the future of some specific product, for example. It really comes down to what's the research question. But the idea is to thrill them to do horizon scanning because horizon scanning is the starting point of all foresight activity. But after that, we may proceed, for example, to some kind of trend analysis through some of our tools or then some other methods. And after the analysis we may proceed to hackathons or scenarios or risk identification or various other kinds of activities. But, the main idea is to help the client understand that this is how you engage in foresight, first of all by scanning and then conducting the further steps with which will refine the scanning horizon, scanning results. And then the results are put into use, for example, coming up with ways and plans, for example, to mitigate risk. And then the cycle starts again. The team returns to horizon scanning and when they feel they have, for example, identified something that really needs to be analyzed and discussed, they will once again convene the experts to discuss the topic. And then the cycle once again starts over. So it's a really continuous cycle, And it is our hope that we can start the cycle and after that, the cycle keeps repeating itself, which means that the organization is getting the horizon all the time, like a radar, if you will.

Klaus Reichert: You try to understand what the big questions are…

Max Stucki: Indeed.

Klaus Reichert: …at least for the very, very first time. Also to, maybe, trigger the company to ask these questions if they haven't done that so far.

Max Stucki: Yes. Yes.

Klaus Reichert: And then you use the Futures Platform tool, you use other tools that you can use. You work with a team of the company, and I think that is one of these good things about your approach, which I like a lot, is the team thing. It's not one person, one party knows everything and then everybody else is dependent on that. But what you actually do is you want other people in the company, or maybe in a network around that company, to participate in such endeavors and in the foresight work.

Max Stucki: Yes.

Klaus Reichert: And then you are part of that, and you are maybe not part of that anymore, but with the next cycle, you ideally come back and add additional value, additional information, additional methods so people can grow, also, their skills.

Max Stucki: Indeed, indeed. And there's… we call it foresight maturity. So it's basically a model in which we model the maturity of using and engaging in foresight of an organization. And the idea is, of course, that we help the organizations to grow into maturity, foresight maturity. And that is a very usual maturity model thinking. So I'm sure we are all very familiar with maturity models. But that is what we do, and it helps to understand the next steps that need to be taken to go further. And as you said, we can then engage in the next cycles to help guide towards higher maturity levels. And to go a little bit back, what you said about this, if you will, like a guru thinking, that some person has all the right answers. I think in foresight, if we think about the way in which foresight will relate to knowledge, to epistemology, if you will. The idea is that we need to be able to discuss the views, to discuss the results, and if we see that we have good reasons to believe that the results are false, and the results should be such that they can be falsified by a peer review, for example, then we need to engage in the process again. So in a sense, foresight, even though it cannot be, strictly speaking, a scientific process, because we cannot know for certain about the future it can still apply the peer review idea of science that we present. We present views that can be falsified by further data and that can be challenged by others so that we can keep growing our understanding all the time. So in that sense, the epistemology of foresight isn't, strictly in a sense, or the method, isn't strictly in a sense scientific, but it approaches it as far as it can, in a sense. And that acts against this guru mindset that one person knows how the future will be.

Klaus Reichert: Basically, doing something in an organization needs time and resources in a way.

Max Stucki: Yeah.

Klaus Reichert: And sometimes that's very limited. Sometimes you need a lot of convincing…

Max Stucki: Yeah.

Klaus Reichert: …to get the time and resources…

Max Stucki: It's difficult.

Klaus Reichert: …because some people might say, okay, “well this is not the engineering way to do that.” “Oh, we are guessing and something, whatever, blah, blah, blah.” Do you have, like, some good arguments of how to get these resources, the time to do that work?

Max Stucki: Yeah, there are a couple good ways of doing that. And that is something that, of course, is from time to time encountered also by us. One good way is just to present case studies. That's usually… for example, especially for those who are engineered minded, case studies are a very good way to go. You can find case studies on our website, for example, but you can find excellent case studies in other sources as well. And there are even scientific articles published, for example, how certain car companies do foresight and so forth. So that's one way of approaching this. The other way to approach foresight is just to point out that, for example, organizations such… or well, military organizations have been engaged in this kind of thinking for a long time. And from that world, of course, we have adopted many things to the business world, whether for good or bad -I don't comment on that- but to point out that this is an activity that has existed successfully for a long time, and that is considered of very high importance in organizations that are responsible for our security and safety. So there is data to present that this is more than just guesswork, for example. And the third thing, I think, which not always is appreciated enough, is that, whether we think about it or not, we always have some kind of vision in an organization that directs us forward. And whether that vision exists only in the head of the top management or even the single top manager, CEO, or whether it's more widely spread, it is what directs the ideas and ways forward for the organization, for the business. And to test that vision, to update it, refresh it, and align it, most of all, with the changing circumstances is highly important because if we think about that we have these guiding principles, if they're out of touch with reality, it's quite clear that that will not lead to success in most cases. So there is also a case to be made that the goals that we have, the ideas, should be reflected against what we can say about the future. So I think those are the three things I would point out.

Klaus Reichert: Once we have the buy-in, once we have done the first initial work, let's say, we have worked as a team alongside with you for, say, half a year, maybe 12 months, we come up with some sort of results, let's put it that way. These results are something that we think about how we think about the future, how that could turn out. It could be questions, it could be answers, it could be lots of things.

Max Stucki: Yep.

Klaus Reichert: We need to put that into actions. Is there some key things that you recommend to get from that imaging state, let's put it that way, into an action state? Is there something that helps to promote these actions or to promote doing something, say, with visualizations, with storytelling or something that you think is very helpful?

Max Stucki: Well, that's one of the main questions, always, related to all kind of activity that is in any way similar to foresight.

Klaus Reichert: People have to believe in what you, what you came up with, right? And you have to tell that to others, and they have to believe in that too.

Max Stucki: Exactly, exactly. So to tackle, maybe… I think in many ways, to tackle the easiest question first is that the visualization part, and for example, our tool can be used to visualize the future and the foresight view and, I think… but there are also many other wonderful ways, videos, for example, to create visualizations for the future. However, I think the most… the key word always, or very often, is actionable. So what is actionable? What can we do now? And to take… This is a very concrete example: we worked just a couple of weeks ago with an organization and we were identifying the key risks they would be facing in the next roughly three years. And, first of all, we were able to identify the risks quite well. We were very happy with the results, but we took it further. We took it further in a very simple way. We looked through the risks and we looked through the common themes in the risks. And the participants in the were very… directly asked that, okay, in the next three years, what do we have to do, what can we do to mitigate these risks, to prepare for it? And we have templates for the next three years to prepare concrete actions, like “do this” or “do that” or maybe, for example, start monitoring certain regulatory changes that could affect the industry quite significantly. And one way of doing that, I think, is to ask very direct questions. Just like, “what would you do to mitigate this potential future risk?” And that is… that can act as a preach to another topic that relates very closely to this, is when we are talking about the buy-in that people may have
and what's the value delivered in foresight projects? It's very centrally tied to the fact that when you get people to collaborate and think about the future changes, their old thinking changes as well. Because when you engage in knowledge sharing, you also receive yourself and the ideas become more refined. And in this very concrete example that I just shared, it was very interesting that the risks identified were… for most, they were quite familiar, but not all of them. So they had like an incomplete… like most of… they had a pretty similar picture of the risks, but for all of them it was incomplete. But when we put all the pieces together, the picture was more or less complete, based on the best understanding we have now. And what was also more important was that they started to see the ways, the things, the risks could relate to each other in the future, and what are the themes, the key drivers behind the risks that they should take into account in their strategy, for example. And that was something that was missing, but that they achieved, through the collaboration, through discussing together and engaging in these activities, trying to find, of course, the key drivers, but also what needs to be done to thrive, also, in the coming years. So there is the aspect of developing thinking or developing thought.

Klaus Reichert: That is something that you cannot simply tell from the outside and because nobody would ever accept anything like that. But that is something that you have to develop together with the whole team. So they bring their things, their thoughts, their ideas to the table, the things that they see and combine that together.

Max Stucki: Indeed. And, of course, in certain ways, carefully documenting the process in which you arrive at conclusions in a foresight project is one way of communicating and convincing others that our conclusions are in some way meaningful. So there is the documentation aspect. But as we are humans and we are very social beings, of course, the participation in itself, also helps in this process of accepting the results. However, I need to say this, there's always the danger of group things, like, when you get in the group, you want to agree with the group, and then you come to all kinds of silly conclusions because nobody wants to deviate from their thought process. And in that sense, it's always very valuable to have those people around who can be very vocal about things that they think, that, okay, they, for example, read some kind of foresight report and they think, they say, “okay, I don't believe it. I don't mind it at all.” And that is always, especially when it comes to future and foresight, there's always the opportunity to ask, first of all, okay, like, “what do you don't buy in our reasoning? And why do you think it is false?” Because if the person can provide valuable views on why things are not the way they should be in the report, that is highly valuable data and insight, and that should always be at least considered carefully, because somebody coming from outside can have widely different perspectives on things when we are engaged in the project. So those kinds of people who don't immediately buy in can actually be your most valuable assets in the project. And this has happened more than once, at least in my experience. What I have seen is that such person becomes a highly valuable contributor who in the end ends up buying in as well because they have had their own say. But, yeah, I just wanted to add that here.

Klaus Reichert: If that person is on a constructive level, that is very helpful. And if it's a destructive mindset, it might not add a lot of value.

Max Stucki: Yeah. I think that's pretty much how it is, in all human relationships. [laughs].

Klaus Reichert: True. Yes. [laughs] I just worked with a graphical recorder, a person that was doing sketches of what we were talking about in the workshop that was sort of visualizing, outcomes or ideas helping to better understand what…because it was in pictures, comic style drawings. Is that something that you favour so that you have an image right away? Or is that something that you would create afterwards?

Max Stucki: I have actually experience of working similarly and if it's at all possible to have an illustrator present at the workshop, it is very good. I'm a firm believer that art can capture and deliver much deeper insights than we usually think. And having those pictures drawn is… it captures the mood, in a way, so we can remember, “okay, that was our emotional state when we were there.” It's important information. But it can also help people to reflect like, “what were we thinking about? What were we talking about?” And it helps them to reflect that, “okay, it is captured in this way, in this illustration, so what does this say about our thought processes in that moment?” And I know it isn't always possible to have an illustrator with you, but when you do, I would say it's worth it. Absolutely. So it's fantastic to see the results because you were there yourself and this is like an artist's representation of what happened there and how they saw, for example, you acting. It's always nice to see a drawing of oneself in action.

Klaus Reichert: We have also an additional outside view on things and on the conversation.

Max Stucki: Exactly. Exactly. Yeah.

Klaus Reichert: Wow. So we talked about your definition of foresight, your way of working with foresight, with foresight projects and with companies, doing foresight, using the futures platform, we talked about your toolbox, we talked about an example, a project. Is there anything that we need to add to that?

Max Stucki: Well, I would like to say that in foresight, the single most important thing that anybody can do for their own future thinking, whether it's in foresight or whether it's when planning one's own life, is to accept the fact and always think the fact that I might be wrong and my assessment of the future can be wrong, and then to actively try to think why I might be wrong. Even though if it feels silly, that okay, there is no reason for me to assume that how I think about the future, what my assumptions are, that they would be wrong because they're so certain, or however I put it, we should still take the time to at least reflect that, okay, what are the things that could go different? It doesn't have to be always that they go different negatively, but to be just neutral, to think about, okay, how could things deviate from what we have imagined they would be? And I would say that that is the single most important thing that foresight can actually provide in any context, whether business or public sector or individual human lives.

Klaus Reichert: I'm not really sure if I wanna go into that direction right now, but I think we should, because I'm very much agreeing with you and something that I would say myself, also. But I have met so many people especially in workshops, especially from, say, an engineering side or maybe from the CEO side, people that would never doubt themselves. Maybe they don't know the feeling or they don't wanna seem weak in front of their colleagues. So there's always that element of “no, I will not allow doubt. I want the truth. I want something strict. I want something firm” and all these things, at least in what I experienced. And I think that's sometimes very hard to do, not trying to get into that self-doubt type of situation, with sort of allowing to be self-doubting, in the period of a worksop.

Max Stucki: Yeah, I understand exactly what you mean and there is still a vast amount of research to be done on the psychology and the psychological aspects of foresight, because it relates exactly to those topics you said. And I couldn't agree more. The only thing we can really do, I think, at the moment in foresight and more generally, in fields in which we, for example, are consultants or facilitators, is that to try to communicate that the workshops are safe spaces, spaces where you can think, outside of the boundaries of the usual, if you will. And I think that's the best way to approach it. But it is still very difficult because to appear doubtful of oneself, to appear in a sense vulnerable, and most importantly to appear vulnerable in one's board is something that can be very difficult for many people. And why that is, then, is completely another topic that I really have no competence commenting on, but I have noticed this, exactly the same thing.

Klaus Reichert: Thank you very much, Max. That was, from my point of view, a great conversation. You helped us a lot to understand foresight. You helped us a lot, your way of looking at foresight, your way of working with foresight. We'll provide all the links in the show notes to the Futures Platform, to your website and to your LinkedIn. And well again, thank you very much for taking the time for this conversation.

Max Stucki: My pleasure. It was very nice having this discussion.

Klaus Reichert: Das war der Smart Innovation Podcast. Er wurde mit einem interessierten Publikum live aufgenommen. Vielen Dank fürs Dabeisein und Zuhören. Diese Episode gibt es auch zum Lesen. Der direkte Link ist in den Shownotes. Noch kein Abonnent? Die Show ist überall zu finden, wo es Podcast gibt. Weitere Informationen und meine Kontaktdaten sind bei

Dort gibt es auch eine Übersicht der nächsten Liveaufnahme Termine.

Ich bin Klaus Reichert und das war der Smart Innovation Podcast.

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