What is Horizon Scanning?

category - strategy
type - features
Horizon scanning maps are some of the most effective and common processes used by strategic forecasters, futurists, NGOs and future studies organisations to connect what’s happening today with a range of possible and strategic tomorrows.

Three Horizons Scanning is a technique used by strategic foresight specialists to allow you to develop a more nuanced and sometimes complex understanding of the possible, plausible, probable and preferable futures a trend may create.

To develop the best kind of Three Horizons maps, you will need all of your skills and faculties about you: those gut feelings, that expert intuition, your sense of historic awareness, presence of mind, ability to suspend belief, extrapolate, tell stories, engage in mind-wandering, assume two or more opposing views in your brain at the same time, and be able to believe in all of them.

What are the Three Horizons?

Horizon One:

This is your baseline forecast which takes a very measured view about how the existing trends or forces of change you have identified are currently impacting on your brand, business or organisation. Described as fading trends, these are the trends that you are currently reacting to (or not!) and can be seen as the ones now shaping your business.

Horizon Two:

This is your forecast that looks at how those short- to medium-term trends (such as those on our trends intelligence platform, LS:N Global) that are emerging will affect your brand, business or organisation over time. This is the horizon along which innovation strategy can happen if you embrace and harness those trends in a positive and opportunistic way. But it is also the zone of conflict, of disruption, as incoming forces of change buffer your organisation and threaten the status quo.

Horizon Three:

This is your long-range forecast that looks at the trends, technologies and innovations emerging at the earliest stages of our Diffusion of Innovation curve. It is the one that requires you to fully investigate those disruptive technologies or nascent trends and forces sitting at the very edges of our peripheral vision.

You can discover our Methodology below to find out more or sign up to our Trends & Foresight Masterclass series where we delve further into mastering our methodology.

Published by:

24 August 2022

Author: The Future Laboratory

Image: The Future Laboratory



Discover our Methodology

The Future Laboratory’s unique proprietary methodology allows us to track, monitor and determine the key drivers of change affecting future consumers, culture and business.

Our methodology enables clients to interpret and frame all their decisions about future risk within a brand, consumer or organisational context that is provable, practical and minimises uncertainty.

Use our interactive microsite here to find out more.