I do research in foresight and futures studies and try to describe it in plain, hands-on solutions for managers and entrepreneurs. My findings have helped me get a grip on uncertain developments and strategic decision-making and I hope they will do the same for you.
My baptism of fire in foresight and strategic decision-making took place many years ago, while I was trying to save a company from extinction. The range of difficulties in forward looking decision-making, particularly during the daily fight to make ends meet was extremely painful. Upon dismantling the company, I wanted to understand how managers can see the directions of change earlier and accurately, so I began conducting research in this area.
I was taken by the idea that our expertise can make us blind to new, emerging, dangers and that another way of looking could improve decision timeliness and accuracy
A few years later, as I was learning more and more about decision-making and foresight, I realized that this knowledge may make the difference between an organization's survival or fall. Once I realized that understanding the limits of our expertise can help us become more competent searchers and interpreters of strategic information, I started working on the means to get all managers and entrepreneurs the same knowledge to increase our organization's chances of survival.
My speeches, masterclasses, and consultancy approach are my attempt to take my research findings and deliver them in a hands-on, no-nonsense way. I want more managers and entrepreneurs to learn about the limits of their expertise, discover the excitement of foresight done right, and possibly use some of the insights to supercharge their organization's decisions.
Barbara is a Dutch futurist and one of the few scholars specialized in how top-managers perceive the future in the information they consume. And then there is her doodling and visual thinking. Together, these traits make working with Barbara an energizing experience of discovery and action.
Barbara starts to work when other futurists stop: AFTER the fancy videos of technological wonders. When you're feeling an urgency to change the business but are not (yet) sure how, then Barbara is the futurist for you. You can shape the future under two conditions. Firstly, you envision at least a couple of possible futures. Secondly, you innovate your way out of the present to survive and thrive in each possible future. Her approach will help you to understand what needs to be done for envisioning and for taking action, so that you can change the business confidently.
Her entrepreneurial experience of 20+ years as a consultant in multiple industries and a Ph.D. in foresight come together in a thorough, can-do attitude. She will roll up her sleeves and friendly start to spin your challenge around for a full inspection. As she goes to work, she will think out-loud, sketch what she sees, and make suggestions for new approaches. This makes her easy to understand and difficult to ignore.
When she's not busy speaking or advising, she loves to hang out with the equally curious. She has been known to talk lengthily and deeply about the wonders of human cognition, dog-dog interaction, or the savouring of good food.
How do you know that you're making the right decision when the future is so darn difficult to predict?
Let's answer this together. Would you say that digitalization and AI is changing customers rapidly and that big tech may be more influential than local government in that respect? That big tech next steps are not transparent nor evident, but likely to impact jobs and purchasing power? Then you also know that a flexible growth strategy that allows you to switch between feasible alternatives is your best bet.
Develop a systematic process to monitor relevant emerging developments, so that you will be in constant touch with the future. Let someone research latent and new customer needs, because customers change along with our society. Keep an eye on start-ups and new technologies that might replace some of your business. Find out how your way of doing business can survive when AI is soon to be smarter than us.
If you have any doubts along the way about how to design your foresight process, call me. And we'll figure this out, for sure.