Meet the 2023 Winter Cohort

The Automobile Gallery was again the site for a new Envision Strategic Foresight cohort to begin studies under the guidance of Garry Golden. On February 3 the following businesses and nonprofit organizations sent representatives to the training, bringing the total number of local leaders now trained to 125:

• O’Connor Connective
• NE Wisconsin Technical College
• Foundations Health & Wholeness
• St. Norbert College
• Prevea Health
• Bellin Health
• Bay Towel, Inc.
• Greater Green Bay Chamber
• Green Bay Police Department

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Nurturing Futures Intelligence

Randall Lawton, Envision Board member

“The surprise-free future isn’t.” —Herman Kahn

Firms prepared for the future are 33% more profitable and grow twice as fast as others, research says. Companies that scan a variety of environments, such as technology, politics, environment, competition, and customer landscape, develop a strong understanding of market shifts and of new features that meet customer needs, and so their revenues increase.

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Networking: the next puzzle piece

Phil Hauck, Board President

We have learned that our graduates, after completing their Strategic Foresight (SF) training, recognize value in comparing experiences with other SF grads and continuing to work together to implement the tools they’ve learned. So we’re launching our first two networking cohorts in the very near future, bringing together like-minded people who share similar situations and see foresight from similar perspectives. In each case we will seek “a good match” of people as we build the network. These are the features to which we’re committed:

  • Purposeful meetings aimed at shared experiences, getting questions answered, learning improved techniques, recognizing mutual challenges, and developing meaningful friendships
  • Well-timed gatherings, probably every 8-10 weeks
  • Scheduled at an optimal time of day for good attendance and focus
  • Commitment by network members to attend regularly and engage
  • Confidentiality
  • An agenda that is carefully planned and shared
  • Facilitation by an experienced professional

These networking cohorts will launch soon. There will be no participation fee as we fine-tune this structure over 2023. If you’re interested in joining such a network within these guidelines, contact Steve McCarthy, Executive Director.

When Trend-Watching Pays Off:  meet Ann Franz

Jim Golembeski, Envision Board Member

It was 2006 when Paul Rauscher met Ann Franz. Ann had recently started as Business Liaison for Bay Area Workforce Development Board (WDB), and  Paul owned EMT International, a manufacturer of large, high-speed printers in Green Bay. Watching trends in manufacturing, Paul had observed:

  • An aging manufacturing workforce in one of the most heavily concentrated manufacturing regions in the country
  • A public image of manufacturing as dirty, dumb, dead-end, and headed for China
  • A K-12 and university education system that actively promoted four-year university degrees and discouraged training in the skilled trades
  • An economic opportunity to build on regional strength and experience

Where Have all the Workers Gone?

Phil Hauck, Envision Board President

“There is a zero percent likelihood you will have enough people to fill all your jobs for the next ten years!” That’s the headline takeaway from Chris Czarnik, an Appleton-based national speaker on “Talent Recruitment and Management” and author of Winning The War for Talent.

Employers have realized for two years that there aren’t enough people to staff their enterprises.  But we’re wondering when it will end. Czarnik says employers must realize that this fundamental shift we’re seeing today will be permanent for the foreseeable future. He points to data that says it will be many years from now, requiring a 180-degree shift in how you approach recruiting.


The Electrification of Everything

Jeff House, Envision Board Member

As the “future” becomes the “present,” one trend that started decades ago and continues to grow is the electrification of our lives. It seems that everything we touch today has a motor and a circuit board. And so, the question becomes: How are we going to continue to energize this growing array of electrical things? Could renewable energy be the answer? Let’s see what the signals say.


Thinking About the Future: Guidelines for Strategic Foresight (2nd edition), by Andy Hines and Peter Bishop

Reviewed by Tom Schumacher, Envision board member

Without exception, our Strategic Foresight workshop graduates find themselves thinking more about the future. The question is how to engage others and communicate the results in a way that moves toward a preferred future. The answer can likely be found in Thinking About the Future, a book by Andy Hines and Peter Bishop, University of Houston Foresight faculty members.

The book is a Swiss Army knife of strategic foresight, providing guidance through six phases of the Strategic Foresight process:

  1. Framing
  2. Scanning
  3. Forecasting
  4. Visioning
  5. Planning
  6. Acting

The book is not an explicit methodology text, but a guidebook on how to apply the various tools and techniques within each step. Whether an executive, educator, consultant or analyst, Thinking About the Future is a well that can be drawn from to tailor a successful Foresight journey.

For example, the first section (Framing) is heavily weighted toward setting expectations and project scope and establishing a balanced team to take on the challenge. To assist in that objective, the authors provide 21 framing guidelines, which can be chosen and applied to best fit the circumstances and needs of the organization. Each guideline throughout the book starts with its rationale, followed by key steps to execute the guideline and the benefits of successful execution. Additional perspective is provided with an example of how the guideline was successfully or unsuccessfully applied in a real-life situation, and each guideline closes with a list of related reading resources.

Thinking About the Future concludes with a seventh chapter that brings the entire process into focus. It proceeds systematically through the six steps, separating them into two groups of three steps each. Framing, scanning and forecasting provide the baseline map, including the domain definition, current state, key stakeholders and plausible futures. The final three steps of visioning, planning and acting are the “What are we going to do about it?” steps that can influence which future eventually occurs. While the first steps are interesting, the value of strategic foresight arises from the translation into decisions and actions to influence or adapt to the uncertainties of the future.

This book has a well-earned place on the bookshelf of any serious foresight practitioner. It’s the go-to guide we use at Envision Greater Green Bay in our workshops, signals teams and consulting engagements to make the most of our strategic foresight efforts. We urge all workshop graduates to add this book to their resource library. Be sure to get the second edition, which has valuable updated examples and references. Enjoy!

Checking in: How’s your Foresight Work Going?

We recently invited another group of Strategic Foresight graduates to get together over coffee, with Garry Golden on hand virtually, for an informal chat about what’s working, what’s difficult, and how folks are feeling about things. The most recent group met at Copper State Brewing Co.

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