Trend Scanning, Scouting and Foresight Techniques

  • René Rohrbeck


Corporate foresight comprises all activities that are aimed at identifying changes on the basis of early signals in trends, creating a consolidated future outlook, and using these insights into the future in ways useful to the organization. These activities include developing a strategy, creating innovations, managing risk, and exploring new markets. The author identifies five challenges that companies may face when developing corporate foresight, which include the detection of signals that yield a competitive advantage, the detection of change when terminology is unclear, and the selection of an appropriate foresight method as well as the successful use of foresight methods in the highly iterative front end of innovation. Monitoring and scanning are two ways of conducting the search, with intelligent data mining and scouting networks as possible approaches. Foresight methods can be divided into methods suitable for exploring the future on the market side and methods more suitable for the technology aspect. Thinking in scenarios is a good choice when direction and rate of change are unknown.


Product Category International Monetary System Uncertain Dynamic Business Field Innovation Initiative 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Ansoff IH (1975) Managing strategic surprise by response to weak signals. Calif Manage Rev 18(2):21–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Backman M, Borjesson S, Setterberg S (2007) Working with concepts in the fuzzy front end: exploring the context for innovation for different types of concepts at Volvo Cars. R&D Manage 37(1):17–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bergmann I, Butzke D, Walter L, Fürste J-P, Möhrle MG, Erdmann VA (2008) Evaluating the risk of patent infringement by means of semantic patent analysis: the case of DNA-chips. R&D Manage 38(5):550–562CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chandy RK, Tellis GJ (2000) The incumbent’s curse? Incumbency, size, and radical product innovation. J Market 64(3):1–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Daft RL, Weick KE (1984) Toward a model of organizations as interpretation systems. Acad Manage Rev 9(2):284–295Google Scholar
  6. Gausemeier J, Fink A, Schlake O (1998) Scenario management: an approach to develop future potentials. Technol Forecast Soc Change 59(2):111–130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Gemünden HG (2001) Die Entstehung von innovationen: Eine Diskussion theoretischer Ansätze. In: Hamel W, Gemünden H-G (eds) Außergewöhnliche Entscheidungen – Festschrift für Jürgen Hauschildt. Vahlen, München, pp 409–440Google Scholar
  8. Gordon S, Tarafdar M, Cook R, Maksimoski R, Rogowitz B (2008) Improving the front end of innovation with information technology. Res Technol Manage 51(3):50–58Google Scholar
  9. Griffin A, Hoffmann N, Price RL, Vojak BA (2007) How serial innovators navigate the fuzzy front end of new product development. Paper presented at the PDMA research conferenceGoogle Scholar
  10. Heger T, Rohrbeck R (2012) Strategic foresight for collaborative exploration of new business fields. Technol Forecast Soc Change 79(5):819–831CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Khurana A, Rosenthal SR (1998) Towards holistic “front ends” in new product development. J Prod Innov Manage 15(1):57–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Koen P, Ajamian G, Burkart R, Clamen A, Davidson J, D’Amore R, Elkins C, Herald K, Incorvia M, Johnson A, Karol R, Seibert R, Slavejkov A, Wagner K (2001) Providing clarity and a common language to the fuzzy front end. Res Technol Manage 44(2):46–55Google Scholar
  13. Nijssen EJ, Hillebrand B, Vermeulen PAM (2005) Unraveling willingness to cannibalize: a closer look at the barrier to radical innovation. Technovation 25(12):1400–1409CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Porter AL, Ashton WB, Clar G, Coates JF, Cuhls K, Cunningham SW, Ducatel K, van der Duin P, Cunningham SW, Ducatel K, van der Duin P, Georgehiou L, Gordon T, Linstone H, Marchau V, Massari G, Miles I, Mogee M, Salo A, Scapolo F, Smits R, Thissen W, Group TFAMW (2004) Technology futures analysis: toward integration of the field and new methods. Technol Forecast Soc Change 71(3):287–303CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Reger G (2001) Technology foresight in companies: from an indicator to a network and process perspective. Technol Anal Strateg Manage 13(4):533–553Google Scholar
  16. Rohrbeck R (2010a) Corporate foresight: towards a maturity model for the future orientation of a firm. Physica-Verlag/Springer, HeidelbergGoogle Scholar
  17. Rohrbeck R (2010b) Harnessing a network of experts for competitive advantage – technology scouting in the ICT industry. R & D Manage 40(2):169–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Rohrbeck R, Gemünden HG (2011) Corporate foresight: its three roles in enhancing the innovation capacity of a firm. Technol Forecast Soc Change 78(2):231–243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Rohrbeck R, Schwarz JO (2013) The value contribution of strategic foresight: insights from an empirical study of large European Companies. Technological forecasting and social change, forthcoming, available at SSRN,
  20. Rohrbeck R, Hölzle K, Gemünden HG (2009) Opening up for competitive advantage – how deutsche telekom creates an open innovation ecosystem. R & D Manage 39(4):420–430CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Rohrbeck R, Konnertz L, Knab S (2013) Collaborative business modelling for systemic and sustainable innovations. Int J Technol Manage, forthcomingGoogle Scholar
  22. Slaughter RA (1997) Developing and applying strategic foresight. ABN Rep 5(10):13–27Google Scholar
  23. Verworn B, Herstatt C, Nagahira A (2008) The fuzzy front end of Japanese new product developmentprojects: impact on success and differences between incremental and radical projects. R&D Manage 38(1):1–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Veugelers M, Bury J, Viaene S (2010) Linking technology intelligence to open innovation. Technol Forecast Soc Change 77(2):335–343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. von Hippel E, Franke N, Prügl R (2008) “Pyramiding”: efficient identification of rare subjects. MIT Sloan School of Management Working Paper, pp 4719–08Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Business and Social Sciences, Department of Business AdministrationAarhus UniversityAarhus CDenmark

Personalised recommendations