FEATURE3 October 2023

Ear to the ground: The rise of foresight

x Sponsored content on Research Live and in Impact magazine is editorially independent.
Find out more about advertising and sponsorship.

Features Impact Sustainability Trends

In an ever-shifting environment, good foresight builds resilience for what the future may bring. Rob Gray reports on the rise of foresight, why it means more than making predictions, and why people must be at the centre.


In 2011, philosopher Derek Parfit wrote: “We live during the hinge of history. Given the scientific and technological discoveries of the last two centuries, the world has never changed as fast.” Parfit died on New Year’s Day 2017, so did not witness the Covid-19 pandemic and a further acceleration in change that swept in with it.

The shock and dramatic upheavals of the pandemic led many businesses to realise they could no longer rely on looking to the past to plan. Today, in an uncertain world awash with new technologies and complex macro issues – such as high inflation, the cost-of-living crisis and the climate emergency – brands and organisations need to understand how the commercial and social landscapes are being redrawn, and take steps to minimise the risk of getting caught out by what may lie around the corner.

As a result, there has been an increased focus on foresight. New heads of foresight roles have sprung up ...