Handbook of Research on Strategy and Foresight
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Handbook of Research on Strategy and Foresight

Edited by Laura Anna Costanzo and Robert Bradley MacKay

Drawing together a collection of 29 original chapters, the Handbook makes an invaluable contribution to theory and practice by stimulating disciplined, rigorous and imaginative enquiry into the relationship between strategy and foresight. Leading scholars in the field of strategic management are brought together to offer innovative and multi-disciplinary perspectives on the past, present and future of strategy formation and foresight. In so doing, they challenge research in four key areas: strategy and foresight processes; strategy innovation for the future; understanding the future; and strategically responding to the future.
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Chapter 7: Scenarios as Knowledge Transformed into Strategic ‘Re-presentations’: The Use of Foresight Studies to Help Shape and Implement Strategy

Thomas Durand


Thomas Durand Introduction Future studies contribute to gaining insight into the context in which organizations maneuver. In this sense, future studies are essential inputs to the strategy process, when an organization envisages its future activities and its competitive positioning. It may be argued that ‘future studies’ are as important ingredients of the making of strategy as competitive intelligence, market surveys, technology assessment or identification of core competence. Future studies and foresight will be used as equivalent terms here. However, the French tradition of future studies is known as ‘La Prospective’, and it derives from Gaston Berger’s work in the 1950s (Berger, 1957, 1958, 1964). Berger wrote about ‘l’attitude prospective’ (the foresight stance) which soon became as substantive as La Prospective: Observing an atom modifies the atom; watching a person affects the person; looking at the future transforms the future. Tomorrow will not be like yesterday. It will be new and shaped by us. The future is less to be discovered than invented. The past, the present and the future are intricately interwoven as they impact each other. (1964) Subsequent contributions came from Jacques Lesourne (1981) and Michel Godet (1977, 1985, 1991, 2001) from their years at Sema, or André Gros and Armand Braun (2001) known as ‘conseillers de synthèse’ at Sics. Gros founded the journal Prospective with Gaston Berger in 1957. In turn Bertrand de Jouvenel (1967) founded the review Futuribles in 1975. Over the years, this became one of the vehicles of publications on future...

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