29 April 2014:

While technology has simplified business operations, it also provides tools to organisations which enable a much wider and deeper scanning of the environment for weak signals. Hence, a major challenge for organisations scanning the environment is how to manage the explosion of data and information: “how do they avoid undue distraction while spotting useful signals amid an avalanche of data?”.

In order to manage this volume of data, Schoemaker, Day & Snyder (2013) suggest the implementation of an organisational Strategic Radar, an integrated framework that uses scenario planning, business analytics and dashboard technologies to 1) monitor and scan for important signals from the external environment, and 2) trigger strategic and operational adjustments in response to these changes as needed.

A complete Strategic Radar system consists of three major functions:
1: The monitoring of external signals by providing periodic updates about pre-specified forces shaping the business environment;
2: The assessment of strategic actions based on the above updates about the external environment; and
3: The scanning for additional weak signals that could impact the future external environment.

The Strategic Radar in Practice (Schoemaker, Day & Snyder 2013)
Fig. 1. The Strategic Radar in Practice (Schoemaker, Day & Snyder 2013)

The authors conclude that it takes leadership to drive foresight discussions that help an organisation to “see around the corner sooner than its rivals. […] Few organisations have learnt to harness these uneven signals from the edges of their business and see the future more clearly”.

Schoemaker, Paul J. H.; Day, George S. & Snyder, Scott A. 2013, “Integrating organizational networks, weak signals, strategic radars and scenario planning”, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, vol. 80, no. 4, May, pp. 815-824.

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