Mit News & Trends arbeiten mit Max Stucki (Futures Platform)

Im Smart betrachten wir die Möglichkeiten der kuratierten und fokussierten Nachrichtensuche und der gemeinsamen Trendbewertung, die auf dem Online Tool Futures Platform verfügbar sind.

Max Stucki
(c) Max Stucki

Wer sich mit Zukunft, und Innovation beschäftigt, braucht allgemeine und spezifische Informationen und muss diese in spezielle Kontexte setzen. Die große Anzahl von Quellen und eine Vielfalt von Themen macht dies zu einer großen Herausforderung. Online Tools helfen Innovationsmanager/innen und Foresight Experten & Expertinnen bei dieser Arbeit.

Im Gespräch mit Max Stucki, Foresight Berater bei der finnischen Beratung Futures Platform, gehen wir auf die Möglichkeiten der kuratierten und fokussierten Nachrichtensuche und der gemeinsamen Trendbewertung ein, die auf der Futures Platform neu verfügbar ist. Das Gespräch mit Max Stucki ist auf Englisch.

Beispielhafte Trend Radar Abbildung, Futures Platform

Podcast anhören

Zweiter Teil unseres Gesprächs

Podcast abonnieren

Podcast Transkript

Das Transkript wurde manuell erstellt.

Klaus Reichert: Innovation, Weiterdenken und Zukunft einfach machen.

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

Ich begleite engagierte Unternehmerinnen und Führungskräfte sowie ihre Teams mit Smart Innovation auf dem Weg von der Vision zu enkeltauglichen Leistungen.

Meine Mission ist es, Unternehmen und seine Menschen kreativer und innovativer zu machen. Ich arbeite remote von aus.

Im Smart Innovation Podcast spreche ich mit engagierten und kreativen Menschen über Innovationen, über , Unternehmertum und Verantwortung gerade im Kontext des Klimawandels.

Zuhörer können bei den Liveaufnahmen mitmachen und Fragen stellen. So wird Innovation lebendig und leicht umsetzbar. Die Live Aufnahmen sind mittwochs, Episoden erscheinen montags. Den Link zu Terminen, Newsletter und dem Transkript finden Sie in den Show Notes.

Bleiben Sie auf dem Laufenden und folgen Sie der Show, wo immer Sie Ihre Podcasts oder auf

Und denken Sie daran Es gibt kein Ende von Innovation, nur Starts.

My guest is Max Stucki. Er arbeitet als Foresight Analysis Manager by Futures Platform, einem auf Strategic Foresight spezialisierten Unternehmen mit Sitz in Helsinki in Finland. Wir unterhalten uns über die und Trends Suche der Futures Platform. Heute machen wir ein Experiment, unser Gespräch wird in Englisch stattfinden. 

Klaus Reichert: Hello Max. Great to have you on the show today.

Max Stucki: Hello, Klaus. It is super to be here today.

Klaus Reichert: Your name, Max Stucki, sounds very, very Swiss, but you are in Finland.

Max Stucki: Yeah. I'm a Finn, but my family, from my mother's side, has roots in Switzerland, hence the name. 

Klaus Reichert: Max, what is your job at the Futures Platform? What do you do?

Max Stucki: I go by the title Foresight Analysis Manager, so what that means in detail is that, of course, I'm engaged in the analysis work, so I'm engaged in delivering the foresight analysis, so forward looking, intelligence products on various topics and trends. But also that involves very much developing the analysis process, further, understanding how we can deliver better analysis, and better insights to our customers. That's, like, one side of my work. The other side of my work is consulting, foresight consulting, so I take part and I manage various foresight projects for our customers, for example, related to scenarios, horizon scanning and so forth. So my job has kind of two sides to it, between which I balance.

Klaus Reichert: You work in foresight and I think that is a very, very interesting profession, interesting thing to do, based on data, based on creativity, based on observations, also, and lots of information. And I think that's a fascinating job to do. The company you're working for is Futures Platform, in Finland?

Max Stucki: Just as a little bit of background, Finland has a very strong position and has had, for some time, in future studies and foresight. So it is quite natural that Finland also has its foresight companies. It is no coincidence in that sense. The company itself, Futures Platform, was started in 2016, by people with a background in foresight and they realize that there is a need for a tool, a digital tool, that allows organizations, but also individuals, to do foresight analysis in an easy, easy manner, in a manner that allows them to systematically conduct, for example, horizon scanning, the fancy name for looking for trends and signals that could impact you and your organization and also to draw conclusions based on those findings. And hence, they started the company that develops this digital foresight tool or exactly those ends to allow people to engage in foresight with little effort, if you like, in the sense that you can start engaging right away and you don't need to always do one of the projects. So that is what we do at Futures Platform. We host the tool, but also we deliver consulting. Very often it's about doing some, for example, scenario projects that are based also… we are using the tool there, but it, like, helps people to get more familiar with the tool and get their own foresight activity started. So it is really our aim to help our customers to start systematic foresight processes in their own organizations.

Klaus Reichert: I was very impressed by how easy and smooth you make that process. It's very easy to start, to work with your platform. It's very informative right away. There is no technology voodoo or something behind starting to use the whole thing. It gets very complex if you want to use it, right, very deeply? I wanted to talk to you about that and I understand that we need to get into the depth of the functionality and give a better understanding of what we're talking about. But we also need to have a context. We have another where we talk about the foresight part of your work, but give us a bit of that context, please. Foresight. How is that embedded into the tool? Because it's not just a new search tool that you offer.

Max Stucki: Exactly. And thank you, thank you very much for those kind words. To put it in context on what foresight is… It could be a little bit of a foreign word for some listeners. So, foresight in essence is the practice of studying the future of some domain. And usually, of course, if we take private organizations, in other words, companies, they are very interested in what happens in their own field and they want to understand the future developments. But foresight helps them to take a more holistic view to study the operational environment in its whole breadth and whole width to understand what could be those future trends or wild cards that would affect our industry that are not directly related to us. So, in essence, foresight is about studying the future to understand how it could affect us. And of course it takes data and analysis, but also the ability to connect the dots. And that takes creativity. Like, you really need that, for example, if you're thinking about scenarios. And how the foresight is then related to, or how the tool, if you will, delivers the ability to do foresight, it is quite, quite simple, in the way that it allows you to do the basis of any foresight activity, which is the horizon scanning, the ability to gather and collect information about the operational environment. It allows you to do that very quickly because we have a lot of analysis material that we have done ourselves for customers. You can conduct the horizon scanning very easily and that is usually a part that can take many days, even weeks, if you are doing it in the traditional way. But we allow it to be done very smoothly and quite fast. And after that, the analysis in itself, like how it's done on the platform, is collaborative in a sense that you can engage a lot of people on the platform to make sense of the trends, to bring people into discussion, and to discuss together and analyze what would these developments mean for us. And the platform facilitates that. It is a platform for people to make sense of the future. Then what this means in practice, we have various tools to do this either to rate, give ratings on trends, for example, how people see their development, or letting people comment in groups about the trends and so forth. So in practice, there are a lot of tools to do various things, but, how that relates to the foresight process then in its, if you will, in its most basic fundamental level is that it allows you to do the collection of information, and the analysis of the information, and the ready-made intelligence or foresight intelligence product, so you just can export it. A long answer to a short question. [laughter]

Klaus Reichert: [laughter] I think we need to give an idea of what we are talking about right now…

Max Stucki: Exactly. Yes.

Klaus Reichert: …because else everybody will be lost. So let me sort of summarize what I saw. I see something based on a web browser, so I can probably use it also on my smartphone, I suppose… 

Max Stucki: Yeah, yeah.

Klaus Reichert: …but I can access your platform in a web browser. I start with the lounge area where I get the overview of my groups, radars that I have created, there is some handpicked material for me, there are help articles, but there's also news articles to start with. Then there is the content section where all the news and data and all your scenarios are shown and are searchable and there's very good filters. And then there is the radar section, where I can create my own radars. And this is actually the very, very, interactive part. It looks very simple. And then you start clicking on things, right, and making it interactive, adding tags, for example, adding comments and so on. And then lots of information is starting to pop up. There is videos, there is text, there's background info, there's news articles, there's lots of information that your team has created and put together along this different phenomenon.

Max Stucki:  Yes.

Klaus Reichert: And I think this is where it gets really, really interesting.

Max Stucki: We have put a lot of effort in the analysis ourselves. Like we really try to understand trends and signals and changes that are either affecting us right now or could affect this in the future. And we want to offer our users our best understanding, how the things could develop and what the implications are, because the implications are highly important. It is not only the… of course, it's always interesting to know something, but the implications then make it tangible in the sense for people to understand how this could affect, for example, my own work or my life, or my organization. We place a lot of emphasis on that in our analysis work.

Klaus Reichert: I'm showing our participants a quick overview of what we are just talking about. So this is the lounge part… This is the content part… If I click on one of these phenomena, I see which you have defined, based on your observations and data. There is all this information…There is also the connection to other phenomena, which I think is fascinating, to have all these things to start sort of journeys on my own. And, I can also add comments and stuff like that. We can click on this other tab and get a lot of news articles, which you have selected from a lot of news sources, that link to the original sources… And then there's also the radar section that allows me to dip deeper into specific areas of my own interest and have discussions with my team, with my company. Where it starts to get really interactive, I found, is the radar section. What do we see? What do we get when we see, when we start the radar section in, in the futures platform?

Max Stucki: So the radar is the basis of all the collaborative work. The radar represents the future, you could say a future view, how you view the future of, for example, your company at the moment. And the radar, of course, is built in a sense that in the center is the present and the further out you go, the further out in the future you are looking. And the radar then is populated by these dots, these phenomena or trends and those phenomena represent the result of the horizon scanning of the activity in which you are trying to understand what things could affect you now and in the future, When you have done the horizon scanning, you, you have the view of the future that you consider relevant at the moment. Of course you can update this at any time and the idea is that you keep it updated. And you can share it very easily and you can say, “This is the future view of our company at the moment, or our organization”, and you can ask your colleagues, “Are we missing something?” Or you can inform that these are the things we think you should take into consideration when you are making future plans. To just put things a little bit in the context, you see various different colors here. The green ones are things that we consider our strengthening in importance. They will become more important, more influential in the timeframe they are set in. The red ones are wild cards, so things that have low probability but high impact potential. So if they take place, they would impact the world in a significant way. A very good example of a wildcard was the latest pandemic we had. Blue ones are trends, but which are getting weaker, which unfortunately in some cases can be quite significant, for example, the pollinators or untouched nature. The area of untouched nature is getting smaller at the moment, as is the number of pollinators or it has been at some time. Maybe the pollinator populations will recover hopefully soon. And then there are the gray dots, which are the weak signals, so something that we don't have a lot of data on, which is interesting, which should be monitored, but we cannot say if it will become a trend because we don't have enough data. So usually the gray dots are something like that we have spotted in some scientific journal, some latest scientific innovation or breakthrough, for example. And then if you click the dots, you get, as we have seen here, you get more information, you get the analysis that we have done, and it is  then sectioned in a brief summary and then the background information and the further reading section in which we have the sources. And here you can see also, for example, tools, the rating tool with which you can ask your team to rate the trends, how they see them, if you consider using some axis, for example, here, we have to impact and fit with current strategy access, like, is it high impact or local impact, and how does it fit within our strategic context?

Klaus Reichert: So that way you do your horizon scanning with the tool? You can do that with a team, with a group of people from a company or around a company?

Max Stucki: Yes.

Klaus Reichert: And after you have done that, you can sort of educate everybody in that group and ask for their opinions along several lines, and that way sort of understand if there's a fit, for example, for the current strategy of the company or not, or also of the importance for the company. So it's… because we have seen that there's a lot of beeps and phenomena. You can't work on everything at the same time…

Max Stucki: Yeah.

Klaus Reichert: …so you can sort of…  that helps you prioritize also the things you look at as a company.

Max Stucki: Indeed, and it is fully built to be collaborative, as you mentioned here, to engage people. Because very often we work in silos, as the saying goes. We work in silos and even though we want to communicate with our colleagues very often, the information that we have may go unused. We don't share it because we just don't have the opportunity or time. And making this collaborative allows the space to share information that would also otherwise be unutilized. And that's why the collaborative aspect is so important, because we need to understand how the trends could affect us, for example, from the perspective of multiple teams, because the team, all the teams, they have different contexts so they have different uses of things. So this allows the sharing and enriching of the views and perspective.

Klaus Reichert: You make all this information easily accessible. You ask people, individuals, for their comments, and let them vote, and so on. So you ask for the wisdom of the crowd, let's put it that way. What I like here a lot is, I think that helps a lot to generate good insights also and get priorities. If you ask a larger group, right, five people might not be enough, but it also means that there is not the single one person who has the single truth in a company, for example. It's something that is sort of more democratized with your tool, I think.

Max Stucki: Indeed. Indeed, yes. That is very true. And since we are doing collaborative foresight in many ways here. And the idea is also todemocratizethis good work. It helps us to gather the information and people can voice their opinion. Also a very interesting thing that follows from this is that when you gather the views of people and you really start to analyze them, they also reveal the fields, for example, which may go unnoticed. So gaps in knowledge. Is there something in our organization that we have not taken into consideration about some topic?And it is very interesting, and it's very useful, but you can only do that if you can gather the views of the people, of your colleagues, and then you understand what are the gaps in our understanding.

Klaus Reichert: That might trigger, also, some other actions, for example,…

Max Stucki: Yes.

Klaus Reichert:  …filling some of the gaps, getting together, bridging some of these, maybe, differences that you have with other teams or other departments.

Max Stucki: Yes. Mm-hmm. Exactly. Yes. That's the aim. 

Klaus Reichert: Very cool. All these news articles, all the information that you're using, where does it come from?

Max Stucki: The information we use comes from, you could say, put it very briefly, from open sources in the sense that they are sources that we can access and use. There are, of course, closed sources that are not accessible and that we cannot use, but open sources that can be verified by anyone. So that means, naturally, newspapers, news sites, publications by various either public organizations or private think tanks or, if you wish, publications by companies about their new innovations. For example, science universities, absolutely. Scientific journals, very often used. Such sources that anybody can access.

Klaus Reichert: who would ideally use your tool? How many people do you think or would normally the company have? Or what would they do? Which team in the company would use it? What's your experience here? Who is it for? 

Max Stucki: Well, innovation teams use it a lot. That's our experience. And that's a very happy experience because those are the people we want to really reach. All work strategy, naturally, quite unsurprising, and various planning functions. Also  sometimes risk management uses it. And, well then there are foresight teams within private companies, but also in public organizations. Teams dedicated to foresight and they, of course, are the people we really want to aim our tool and services for, as well, because they are in the field and they are really battling with the amount of information they need to absorb and how to then turn that into actionable insights. So I would say it's very versatile and we have customers from many backgrounds, even some IT departments, and such teams that you wouldn't necessarily think immediately “okay, they should be doing foresight”, but they are. So it's getting more popular, the use cases and the teams using it are becoming more versatile, you could say.

Klaus Reichert: It is simple to start with your tool. It is a browser-based tool, so there is no installations and so on. And one of these very first steps is using the news search and sort of go on a discovery journey of the phenomenon that you have observed and described. Also there is a free trial that you can do but what would be some other news search tips that you would have for listeners, for innovation teams, to do, for example, without using any tools at all? Is there some simple, easy tips that you have?

Max Stucki: Absolutely. One simple, like maybe the most simple trick, but that I myself find very useful is just if you find a good source and that you have followed for some time and you have verified it is good, do save it somewhere. Either use an Excel or whatever format you feel appropriate, and go from time to time to that source and check what they're offering, or what their latest news are. In time, when your list grows, hopefully if you are doing this continually, you can start to categorize the various news outlets: in some you are looking for news about the economy and some you are looking for new ideas about politics or some other topic. So the categorization is very important. And the gathering of good sources. That's like one thing that I have myself found extremely important. However, it should also be noted that keeping an open mind in the sense that when we are looking for… we very easily resort to the news outlets we know ourselves or have known for years. And we think these are enough and these are good. And we may have some resistance to try new sources, as we always have, as humans. And… but having an open mind to check even new sources that may seem a little bit odd to us at first, to see what they offer and to see if they're any good to make the judgment, “Okay, should I be following this?” So, of course, in the age of the internet, the internet is full of all kinds of news providers, but only by going through them yourself, you can make the judgment of how this.. or could this be a reliable source? And then I would maybe say the third point is, when somebody presents you information, some very interesting piece of information, always ask them where, how did they source it? What's the source? Where did they get it from? They may have, of course, there's the link, but sometimes the link doesn't contain the source or the original source. And if you find the piece very interesting, go to the original source and put it in your list, start to follow it. It's all about… I would say it's all about the source management in having good news. It really is, in many ways, you know. Those would be my main three topics.

Klaus Reichert: I completely understand the thing about the sources because over time you develop or you aggregate a good list of places to read, to gather information that you can trust, also, because you have sort of verified them along the process.

Max Stucki: Exactly. And the verification is very important. Luckily these days we have the websites that do verification, or at least do some kind of analysis of the new sources in the sense that are maybe somehow politically oriented or some such. But, nothing really beats the verification by your own eyes to see how it is. And of course, it's very good to listen to others, what others think, and to have the viewpoints from there. But doing the verification yourself is important and then, when you are following more sources than just let's say three or five, you start to get the idea that, “okay, the reporting here is like this, and the reporting there is like that.”And then you start to see a little bit, maybe, how you could build a coherent and more complete picture of the events in the world by following multiple sources.

Klaus Reichert: This is something that everybody can do. You don't need to be a big company to do something like that.

Max Stucki: Absolutely. And it is highly recommended for anybody who wants to stay informed on what happens in their own country or in the wider world.

Klaus Reichert: And that was also one of these triggers for why I sort of developed a very easy-to-use new search concept because everybody needs to do it, but not everybody has all the money and the time and so on, to have all these professional tools at hand like yours, for example. But what I think we need to understand is one of these main differences is the foresight background, that specific knowledge that you put in and that you sort of work on all the time…

Max Stucki: Yeah.

Klaus Reichert: …to keep it fresh and reliable. And also the community part, which I think is…

Max Stucki: Right.

Klaus Reichert: …the interactive part, which I think is very, very valuable.

Max Stucki: Exactly. Doing foresight is very… unsurprisingly, you need good sources. You need good sources for your information and you need to have them at hand. And that is something that we have worked very much internally and it really has been a learning process to understand that like the gathering and monitoring of sources is of highest importance. You could say even like blood circulates in the body, in foresight you need the information to circulate through your organizations, to make, keep things fresh. Part of our tool has since the start been that we offer analysis in the trends, the news for our customers and by making curated new searches, search queries that are directed at a certain trend or phenomenon. And then the customer can read those news. So it has taken a lot of effort to really do these queries that would return relevant news to these trends and topics, but that's not enough. That's not enough that you have cute queries because if you are sourcing with any query from the entire internet, basically you can get anything, or even with the best of queries you can get, let's put it in this way, you can get very strange information and I think we all have some kind of experience from that. So I would say that even if you are not using our tool, it is still advisable to combine good search queries with a good list of sources, to combine the queries with the sources, so you have like a double check there, a double filter, in the sense that you are making sure that you are getting good information. Of course there is the time to do a search that incorporates the entire content of the internet. But that's a different use case. When you are doing the trend analysis, you really need to focus. So that's where the list of the trusted sources, so to say, comes into play. 

Klaus Reichert: We talked about the news and trends search, about the online tool that you offer. In our other conversation we'll talk about your foresight work. I'm really looking forward to that. We'll have all the links in the show notes, so we can easily connect these episodes with each other. There will also be a lot of links to what we talked about today. There may be a screenshot just to show, to give an idea of what we were talking about. Max, thank you very much that you took your time today. I think that was very interesting. I really like the tool and I like that interactive community apart, also, a lot because it gives so much power to the individual and creates lots of common knowledge or joint knowledge from individuals and I think that's a very good idea.

Max Stucki: It was my pleasure being here. Thank you, Klaus.

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. 

Kommentar schreiben

Scroll to Top