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Proprietary and Confidential
2September 21, 2016Proprietary and Confidential
Purpose of this presentation
• Stimulate discussion of horizon scanning needs
– Technology, trends
• In support of “innovation” … IT Services, Applied Research, challenges
– Definition of horizon scanning
– Cited examples
– UK expertise
– Tools and methods
– Next steps / options
“Foresight is not prediction! It is about developing ideas about what plausible futures
might look like.” – Futures Analyst
“We are good at learning from the past; we need to learn from the future as well – we
need to develop a ‘history of the future’ as we do a ‘history of the past’” – Scenario
3September 21, 2016Proprietary and Confidential
Why think about the future?
What we don’t know we
don’t know What we
Most of what we need to know to make good
decisions today is outside our comprehension:
we don’t even know it’s there.
All our knowledge is about the past,
but all our decisions are about the
Source: Thinking Futures
5September 21, 2016Proprietary and Confidential
What is an horizon scan?
• An horizon is a view of the probable and possible futures of something
• Horizons are developed based on expertise and ongoing research
– Horizons (research) later informs development (actions)
• Horizons are typically developed by experts in their method, in conjunction with
stakeholders and multi-disciplinary collaboration teams, with a high emphasis on
ongoing knowledge management
• Knowing the possible futures of something is a powerful indicator of expertise or group knowledge
• Horizons should be developed with a clear purpose, in the context of a plan to act
on the information
– The act of participating in the building of horizons helps foster an understanding of
the implications for stakeholders
• The output from horizon scanning can take many forms,
– A one page infographic summary (e.g. a Gartner hype cycle)
– A report 100s of pages of detailed analysis (e.g. future of UK Obesity)
– In both cases the work to produce a meaningful and useful horizon is considerable
(weeks, months, multi year studies)
• Do not confuse horizon scanning with ‘futurology’
6September 21, 2016Proprietary and Confidential
Definitions of horizon scanning vary
• Horizon scanning is generally understood to refer to the active, ongoing
and systematic monitoring and assessment of a technological,
commercial or other type of environment with a view to anticipating the
changes that are likely to occur in it. Being focused and continuous (as
opposed to passive and episodic), horizon scanning fits with an
organization's longer-term objectives regarding strategic directions and
risk management. It is thus of use in detecting and assessing emerging
threats and opportunities and in guiding decision- and policy-making
ahead of actual events.
• Horizon scanning involves the systematic examination of information
from many sources and experts in order to identify potential opportunities
- short, medium and long term - certainties, probabilities and possibilities
- including but not limited to risks and threats, such as important new
industry developments and likely competitor moves, allowing for a better
preparedness and the incorporation of new ideas and insights into the
strategy making process, allowing for the development of a roadmap and
action plan that pinpoints high, medium and low priority initiatives -
musts, coulds & shoulds
8September 21, 2016Proprietary and Confidential
Expanded Strategic Options
(Short, medium, longer term)
Intelligence / scanning
* ‘Foresight’ is the name adopted by UK Government for
a range of horizon scanning practices
9September 21, 2016Proprietary and Confidential
Horizons hedge / inform against questions like this:
• Will our products & services remain relevant in our markets?
• How will our markets change in the future? How will demand change?
• What will our customers need, want or expect next?
• What is the next important development in the technical fields in which we
• Who should we partner with or acquire next?
• What is the next disruption in our business model and where will it come from?
• No one spotted that! Why didn’t we know about that in advance?
• We always seem to be side stepped in terms of new industry developments.
• We had that idea in the past, why didn’t we act on it?
• What should our new strategic plan focus on?
• Where do we need to focus our research and development investment in order to
support our strategy?
• Do we have a vision of our future? How do we get to the future we want for our
10September 21, 2016Proprietary and Confidential
We cannot know all futures, nor do we need to
• Key question: What futures do we really care about?
– I am a product manager. I know all about my product today, but do I
have a roadmap of its future? What if my client asks what’s coming
next? What ideas do I need to create to keep the product current?
Can I get ahead of the competition? What needs to be developed?
Who do I need to partner with? What will the product look like in the
future? How will the product need to change over time?
– I am an industry expert. I understand what my clients are looking for
today, but do I understand what they will need next year or in three
years? How can I remain relevant and prevent my competitors from
steeling a march on my thinking? What ideas do I need to develop in
order to get ready for the projects that will develop the next
generation of our products? Will I see the next disruption before it
The future of <X>?
Technology innovations, new products, services innovations ...
The future of <Y>?
11September 21, 2016Proprietary and Confidential
“what might we need to do?”
Options, plans, actions
“what will we do?”
“how will we do it?”
“what’s really happening?”
Causes, effects, dynamics
“what seems to be happening?”
Trends, issues, themes
News, events …
“what might happen?”
Horizons specialists try to link events and news to actions
13September 21, 2016Proprietary and Confidential
EXAMPLE: Horizons and scenarios were made famous by Shell
• Our scenarios team has been developing possible visions of the future since the
1970s, helping generations of leaders plan and make better decisions. By
identifying and interpreting emerging patterns in the present, they deepen our
understanding of how the world might appear decades ahead.
• Our scenarios ask “what if?” questions, helping us explore alternative views of
the future. They consider long-term trends in economics, energy supply and
demand, geopolitical shifts and social change. They also help governments,
academia and other businesses understand the possibilities and uncertainties
• Over time, Shell Scenarios have gained a global following among governments,
academia and business.
Take a look at
14September 21, 2016Proprietary and Confidential
EXAMPLE: UK Government “Foresight”
• Foresight uses the latest scientific evidence and futures analysis to address
complex issues and provide strategic options for policy
• Foresight projects examine either an important public policy issue where science
might be part of the solution, or a scientific topic where potential applications and
technologies are yet to be realised
• Horizon scanning projects are studies looking at discrete issues 10 to 15 years in
• Foresight projects are in-depth 2-year studies which build a comprehensive
evidence base on major issues looking 20 to 80 years into the future.
• Example ‘futures’:
– The Aging Population, Future of Identity, Disaster and Risk, Future of Cities,
Manufacturing, Finance Markets, Climate Change, Food and Farming, The Built
Environment, Obesity Futures, Energy Futures, Land Use Scenarios, Mental Well Being,
Cyber Trust, UK Innovation
• History of developing Horizon/Scenario best practices, tools, and fostering the
internal and external network of Future Analysts (FAN Club)
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EXAMPLE: UK Government Foresight Report: Reducing the
Risk of Future Disasters: priorities for decision makers
• 139 pages, 20 page executive summary
• Supporting evidence in 14 commissioned expert groups
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Horizon Scanning 2014 – Cabinet Office and GO-Science
Source Ian Miles “Foresight in the UK 1994 to 2014”
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Government has attempted to weave horizon scanning work into
policy development at many levels, organizations attempt the same
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Tools in the
Source: Ian Miles
8 July 2014
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Independent horizon scanning consultants have many tools
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Horizon output is often summarised in the form of infographics
• Infographics are views of a knowledge base, not the research itself
• Infographics themselves take much time and effort to produce
• Keeping them up to date is hard, e.g. ShapingTomorrow later
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EXAMPLE: Convergence diagrams are useful in horizons work
• From an early
– Pinpointing the
future of digital
• What lies at the
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End to end
Extract from a CSC consulting study, 2012
EXAMPLE: Wither Aerospace & Defence?
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Horizons work: Easy to say, harder to do
Source: ShapingTomorrow (*) – “Introduction to horizon scanning best practices”
* ShapingTomorrow, a UK SME, provide portal, tools, community and knowledge base in support of horizon scanning
24September 21, 2016Proprietary and Confidential
Horizons start with and try to answer questions
• What is the future of <x>?
• How will <x> change over time?
• What will be new around <x>?
– What is the future of this technology?
– What is the future of this product?
– What is the future of this service?
– What is the future of this market?
– What is the future of this idea?
• Developing a compelling view of the
future of something depends on
– Integration of available knowledge
– The search for new knowledge
– Integration of the evolving knowledge of
– Applying the methods so as to provide
assets of use to stakeholders
• Developing effective horizons is a
research & knowledge management
25September 21, 2016Proprietary and Confidential
Hype curves are helpful, but incomplete
• A hype curve is only one view of a ‘future horizon’
• A hype curve alone lacks client context
26September 21, 2016Proprietary and Confidential
Analyst firms provide a range of tools to their clients
• Search over knowledge bases
• Access to curated reports
• Infographic summarisation
• Specialist tools
– See later
– All tools are ‘grist to the horizons mill’
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Research can be horizontal, vertical, broad or targeted
• Healthcare industry example
• The ongoing research behind this is considerable
28September 21, 2016Proprietary and Confidential
Present Near Future Future Far Future
Horizons map out scenarios in the context of client needs
What is the future of <X>?
What do we need to know about?
29September 21, 2016Proprietary and Confidential
Questions drive the horizon scanning process
• Questions about <x>
– What does the future of <x> look like?
– Will <x> become important?
– When will <x> become important?
– How will <x> become important?
– What else is related to <x>?
– Who will dominate in <x>?
– What will <x> disrupt?
– What will disrupt <x>?
• <x> could be a new (or existing)
Watch for signals Understand trends Build scenarios
30September 21, 2016Proprietary and Confidential
Present Near Future Future Far Future
Again Will <x> become important?
How will <x> be important?
What do we need to know about?
31September 21, 2016Proprietary and Confidential
Horizons project are complex by their nature
• Decide on the key question to be answered by the analysis. By doing this, it is possible to assess
whether scenario planning is preferred over the other methods. If the question is based on small
changes or a very small number of elements, other more formalized methods may be more
• Set the time and scope of the analysis. Take into consideration how quickly changes have
happened in the past, and try to assess to what degree it is possible to predict common trends in
demographics, product life cycles. A usual timeframe can be five to 10 years.
• Identify major stakeholders. Decide who will be affected and have an interest in the possible
outcomes. Identify their current interests, whether and why these interests have changed over
time in the past.
• Map basic trends and driving forces. This includes industry, economic, political, technological,
legal, and societal trends. Assess to what degree these trends will affect your research question.
Describe each trend, how and why it will affect the organisation. In this step of the process,
brainstorming is commonly used, where all trends that can be thought of are presented before
they are assessed, to capture possible group thinking and tunnel vision.
• Find key uncertainties. Map the driving forces on two axes, assessing each force on an
uncertain/(relatively) predictable and important/unimportant scale. All driving forces that are
considered unimportant are discarded. Important driving forces that are relatively predictable (ex.
demographics) can be included in any scenario, so the scenarios should not be based on these.
This leaves you with a number of important and unpredictable driving forces. At this point, it is
also useful to assess whether any linkages between driving forces exist, and rule out any
"impossible" scenarios (ex. full employment and zero inflation).
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• Check for the possibility to group the linked forces and if possible, reduce the forces to
the two most important. (To allow the scenarios to be presented in a neat diagram)
• Identify the extremes of the possible outcomes of the two driving forces and check the
dimensions for consistency and plausibility. Three key points should be assessed:
– Time frame: are the trends compatible within the time frame in question?
– Internal consistency: do the forces describe uncertainties that can construct probable
– Vs the stakeholders: are any stakeholders currently in disequilibrium compared to their
preferred situation, and will this evolve the scenario? Is it possible to create probable scenarios
when considering the stakeholders? This is most important when creating macro-scenarios
where governments, large organisations et al. will try to influence the outcome.
• Define the scenarios, plotting them on a grid if possible. Usually, two to four scenarios are
constructed. The current situation does not need to be in the middle of the diagram (inflation may
already be low), and possible scenarios may keep one (or more) of the forces relatively constant,
especially if using three or more driving forces. One approach can be to create all positive
elements into one scenario and all negative elements (relative to the current situation) in another
scenario, then refining these. In the end, try to avoid pure best-case and worst-case scenarios.
33September 21, 2016Proprietary and Confidential
• Write out the scenarios. Narrate what has happened and what the reasons can be for the
proposed situation. Try to include good reasons why the changes have occurred as this helps the
further analysis. Finally, give each scenario a descriptive (and catchy) name to ease later
• Assess the scenarios. Are they relevant for the goal? Are they internally consistent? Are they
archetypical? Do they represent relatively stable outcome situations?
• Identify research needs. Based on the scenarios, assess where more information is needed.
Where needed, obtain more information on the motivations of stakeholders, possible innovations
that may occur in the industry and so on.
• Develop quantitative methods. If possible, develop models to help quantify consequences of the
various scenarios, such as growth rate, cash flow etc. This step does of course require a
significant amount of work compared to the others, and may be left out in back-of-the-envelope-
• Converge towards decision scenarios. Retrace the steps above in an iterative process until you
reach scenarios which address the fundamental issues facing the organization. Try to assess
upsides and downsides of the possible scenarios.
34September 21, 2016Proprietary and Confidential
Structuring the output
Shaping forces diagrams are useful in horizons work
Today Short term Medium term Long term
Extrapolation (Offerings, Technologies)
Application (Business plan)
Search Fields Application Fields Environment Shaping Forces
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Structuring the output
Roadmaps are useful in horizons work
36September 21, 2016Proprietary and Confidential
The field of Technological Roadmapping has its tools
Long term planning Integration planning
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Organizations adopt a Technology Roadmapping process according
to their needs
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Books on these methods are necessarily quite theoretical
Futures work is challenging (as researchers acknowledge)
Experts and few and far between
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But is this useful?
• Systems Dynamics (stocks and flows) cause and effect model of the
future influences on UK obesity
Obesity Futures, final report Page 89
40September 21, 2016Proprietary and Confidential
Buyer beware, horizons work can go wrong
• Modelling for modelling sake
– Boiling the ocean, not asking the right questions
• Modelling too many factors / influences – confused picture
– Not consumable / readable by humans
• Proliferation of impenetrable feedback loops
– Impossible to test / simulate
• Lazy modelling – looks good, but how much insight?
–Not getting to root causes of change
– No separation of sub-problems, perspectives, aspects
• No actionable recommendations
– Works or art (cute infographics) delivered, but not in support of ongoing
41September 21, 2016Proprietary and Confidential
Challenges and some recommendations
– We developed that report, but no one
– We developed that report, but now it is
out of date
– That report cost a ton to develop, was it
– That report missed the most important
– Who was it who wrote that report? Were
our experts involved?
– Priorities have changed, that report is no
– Those horizons people, they sit in an ivory
– A year on, have we got to do all that over
– We felt the traditional horizons process
• What’s needed is a collaborative
visioning, roadmapping and action
planning system, supported by
– Structured enough to support the horizon
scanning best practices
– Providing practical support that engages
experts in the process
– Fostering the development of internal
futures practices and community
• Recommendation for increasing
– Focus on empowering your own people
with tools, informed by experts
– Establish a knowledge base, pool
expertise, integrate visualisation
– Be wary of throwing futures projects ‘over
the wall’ to external experts to produce
‘one off’ horizons
– Build networks that integrate futures
knowledge from the outside-in
Proprietary and Confidential
Part 2 - Specialist
expertise in the UK
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• UK ‘futures’ SME
• Best practices
– Global reach
– Supports the process
• Knowledge base
– Specific events
– Observed trends
• Solutions and
services aiming to
foster the in house
44September 21, 2016Proprietary and Confidential
• UK ‘futures’ SME
– Consulting associate network
– Alternative to the ‘big four’ management
• Network of experts in
– Scenario planning
– Horizon scanning
– Future thinking
– Foresight studies
• Fellows, principles & associates
– Associates also operate as independent
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Centre for Future Studies
• Another UK ‘futures’ SME
• Design and facilitation of group
• Describing their services as:
– Scenario planning: Scenario thinking
processes and programmes to build a
plausible future view for each
– Horizon scanning: External scanning
resources and expertise. We also work
with organisations to assist in building
an in-house environmental scanning
– Future thinking workshops: designed to
build future thinking capabilities and
expertise in organisations:
– Thought leadership foresight
studies: thought leadership is the new
paradigm for how businesses market
themselves and build brand.
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• Richard Wilson, futurist author, speaker and scenario planner
• Technology, trends, risk reports and futures consulting
• Has worked for the Imperial Tech Foresight, see next
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Imperial Tech Forecast
• Imperial College London
• Offers futures services, events and
workshops and longer term projects
from Imperials world-leading talent,
including industry collaboration and
corporate horizon scanning service
• Example horizon projects:
– Future electronics
– Synthetic biology
– Smart plastics
– Computer simulation
– Future cities
– Autonomous machines
– Smart dust
– 2025 Tech Forecast
– Block chain futures
– Digital Identity
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EXAMPLE: Imperial Foresight projects
• The Imperial Foresight activity
leverages ‘horizons’ expert and
knowledge bases from Now And Next
– Among many other sources
49September 21, 2016Proprietary and Confidential
• UK SME
• Innovation broker “business network”
– Product suppliers
– Client’s looking for “innovation”
– Searchable knowledge base
– Trusted brokering process
– LEO is the world’s leading Innovation
Marketplace and provides a platform for
corporations, consultancies, governments
and other major organisations seeking new
innovative solutions to quickly and cost
effectively access those providing the latest
innovations in technologies, products and
– Our Corporate Services include accessing
over a quarter of a million Innovation
Providers globally to find the solutions you
need today or may need in the future.
• Brokers links between those providing
innovation and those seeking innovation
– New products
– Evolved products
– New technologies
– Evolved technologies
– Solution patterns
(*) Not to be confused with the CSC Leading Edge Forum
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CGI Coachworks: Match matching between client needs and
expertise that extends the CGI ecosystem
Support to SMEs
• Whole Lifecycle
• Mutual Growth
• Straight Dealing
• Technical Support
• Commercial Vision
Multiple engagements /
challenges flow from
Use engagement with
SME Accelerate members
& Feeder Networks to find
Client introduces its
own preferred SME –
Provide support to
SME in production
scenarios Represent SME in CGI
Solutioneering - Exploring
Usage of SME in wider CGI /
Support SME with
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• Founded by CSC
• Research guided by convergent client interests
– Informed by background thought leadership, analysis and
– Consumerization, ‘Digital’ Leadership, BRM
• Researchers bring forward useful models and
– Simon Wardley, Wardley Maps
– Howard Smith, Southbeach Notation, BPMN
(Wardley Maps) Situational Improvement –
Executable Process Design
(Ghalimi, Smith, BPML, BPMN)
Proprietary and Confidential
Part 3 - Tools Survey
53September 21, 2016Proprietary and Confidential
The game is changing in horizons consulting
• “Tools” to a futures analyst used to be a set of charts and thinking aides
– Being replaced by big data, analytics, cognitive
– Static tools being replaced by modern analytic tools to a large degree
• Placing contracts for offline horizons studies is somewhat outdated
– Fire and forget requests to specialists
– Meld expertise into embedded in house capabilities, supported by tools
– Commissioned comprehensive reports can still be justified for large scale
complex, longer term “studies” integrating ‘open research”
• Interactive predictive tools are ‘all the rage’
– Operating over big data, OSINT
– Integrating public and private data sources
• Domain specific
– Melded to the needs of DIY analysts and their stakeholders
54September 21, 2016Proprietary and Confidential
The “tools” discussion
1. Tools to support core research work
2. Tools to support the horizons process /
Lots of the former, less of the latter
• Tools should ideally
– Foster collaboration
– Bring experts together to pool knowledge
– Converge expert input to create
– Sustain the development of new
• Avoiding one off reports that rapidly are
– Support the repurposing of knowledge,
e.g. visualization, search, extraction
• Example tools
• Sopheon Accolade
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• Quid is a platform that searches, analyses and visualizes the world’s collective intelligence to help
answer strategic questions.
– “The world's leading strategists, researchers, investors and companies rely on Quid to get a bird's-eye view of any topic
and easily understand the trends impacting their world.”
– “Quid is building tools that supercharge database research.”
• Applications include technology market landscapes, emerging trend analysis, competitive intelligence
– Amplify human intelligence and drive towards better research questions
– Used by research groups, think tanks, foundations, consulting firms, corporate strategy, innovation groups, tech firms, in
• Integrate external knowledge (curated by Quid) with internal enterprise knowledge
– Ingest, find patterns, natural language processing over Quid curated and other sources
– Sources include full content of 50 patent authorities, 300k news sources (700k articles daily, indexed every
second), the blogosphere plus any others you add
• Visualization framework can handle 20,000 interactive objects with near zero latency
“With Quid I can upload whole new sets of knowledge into my brain.”
- Shivon Zilis, Partner, Bloomberg Beta
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• Owlin scans close to more than two
million news sources around the world,
24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and
'turns the news into actionable
– Over 2m sources
– Interactive and API
• Owlin scans a wide variety of news
sources: corporate sites, government
publications, academia, blogs,
specialist sites, forums and news
• Used by, among others, research
– Live view of technology trends in eight
large industry sectors
– Real time view of the world of start ups,
incubators, VCs and related technology
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• UK ‘futures’ SME
• Best practices body of
• Practitioner community
– Global reach
– Experts in all kinds of
– Supports the process
end to end
– Trends and events
• Global trends
• Domain specific
• Solution and services
– Foster the in house
– Create a domain
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• Now focusses on the Threat Intelligence market, but the underlying technology has broader application
in line with their original go-to-market plans
• RecordedFuture structures real time information from the social media and 690,000+ web sources
around the world, looking for ‘temporal’ references
– Revealing relationships between people, places and organizations and their timeline of activities
– Presented in interactive dash boards and visualizations, tuned by researchers/analysts using key
words, search terms and other targeting information
– Was used by organizations in areas such as corporate security, cyber analysis, and corporate
intelligence, including market trends, monitoring of competitors, predictive signals in finance markets,
• It is a temporal inference engine for the Web (Google has a stake and the CIA use it I believe)
• As a paid up user, you enjoy the benefit of configuring dashboards for delivery back to your team or
clients, which are kept current automatically, each with its own URL
– Live reporting of the current and future trends, organized by actors and events
– Revealing links between otherwise uncorrelated information
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A product to support the roadmapping process
• From a ‘once a year effort’ to a continuous
– Structures and automates the market,
technology and product planning
• Visuals allows everyone to participate,
including decision makers
– Standardization of roadmapping ensures
consistent communication of vision across the
• Feeds into ideation process
– Drives wider adoption of roadmapping across
• Links horizon scanning to strategy
– Drives development of the R&D portfolio
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• e-Discovery tool (began life in legal industry) for deriving meaning and
insight from natural language ingest, now being marketed for other
– Rapidly ingests millions of pages of unstructured text, dynamically learning
without taxonomies or ontologies
• Natural Language Processing
– Social, Blogs, News, Journals, Enterprise Content, Email, Documents, Sales &
Marketing, Reviews, Premium Content Partners, Scientific Journals
– Learning is surfaced through interactive visualizations
– Phrase detection, multi concept search / connections
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• “Brain like” to find “meaning” (rich associations) in
data and anticipate future scenarios
• Adapts in real time to continuously changing big
– All source intelligence and visualization and
– Fusion / visualization of the numerous sensed or
inferred data feeds
– Vertical applications
• Analytics in the battlefield, real time decision making
• Moving assets, vehicles or personnel
• Supply chain, special operations, social media monitoring
• Spot and track emergent events, e.g. public health, decease
• Acquired by Intel
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Next steps for strengthening our horizon scanning muscles?
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Questions in no particular order
• Define what we don’t know
• What is the internal state of the art?
• Who are our experts?
• What is the external state of the art?
• Where is horizon scanning needed?
• What horizons need to be developed?
• What forms of horizon are of most value?
• Identify gaps in knowledge
• What are our most valuable knowledge
• Identify gaps in tooling
• What tools and methods are already in use?
• What new tools and methods hold the most
• How to demonstrate actionable value of
• How to increase awareness of the art of the
• How to embed horizon scanning in the
• Identify gaps in methods
• Learn by doing, linking tools, methods and
process to needs
• What are the current priorities?
• Where do we start? Bare bones of a
• How will collaboration work?
• Whether and how to engage external
• What type of external input is needed?
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• Enterprise horizon portal in place
• Core horizon scanning team
• Leveraging external expertise
• Supporting horizon ‘consumers’
across the business
• Enabling experts outside of the
horizon team to contribute
• Licenced tools for horizon scanning
and analytics in active use by the
• Training and educating in tooling
being rolled out to selected experts
• Supplementing and filling gaps in
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Present Near Future Future Far Future
Develop rich scenarios
What is the future of <X>?
What do we need to know
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Build integrated roadmaps
High Med Low
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Immediate Med term Long term
Future Study C
Study project B
Plan for proactive actions