Market surveillance for anticipating crises and opportunities

Photo: Market surveillance to anticipate crises and opportunities. Credit: Unsplash

By Chema Carvajal

In a world where economies have been battered by the COVID-19 crisis, now more than ever, companies need to adapt quickly to change, understand the present time in which they are living and be prepared for all the possible scenarios in the future.

It is impossible to anticipate crises and take advantage of the opportunities that emerge from them without an active commitment to market surveillance. This is why, for many years, organisations have begun to professionalise an approach that is not new, but which has been professionalised to serve as a reliable tool on which to base a business strategy.

Future Thinking, how to prepare for tomorrow

The world is characterised by being volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. The National War College of the United States dubbed this concept using the acronym VUCA after the end of the Cold War. Like so many other practices arising out of the military or technological environment, this practice has been shifted to the business world as a useful tool for understanding changing environments.

Therefore, in a world of globalisation, disruptive innovation and increased market competition, which promotes less stable and less secure positions than decades ago, being aware of changes in the market as well as trends in different markets is essential to react quickly and accurately.

In order to deal with uncertainty, organisations are supported by a platform called Future Thinking, in which possible alternative futures are explored, the comparative risks and benefits of each are analysed and opportunities to make cost-effective decisions for the business and positive decisions for society and the environment are identified.

“It is not something new, as it is part of the DNA of every company. This methodology is a strategic work plan that is done to respond to short-term needs and to develop your business in the medium and long term,” explains Anthony Delmotte, Market Intelligence Project Leader at Opinno.

The methodology that anticipates crises

In order to succeed in applying this business school of thought, a specific methodology has been developed in recent years that works, step by step, on the key points to be addressed on the subject of anticipation.

Currently, Future Thinking is based on a cyclical methodology that is divided into three stages: Foresight, Insight and Action.

  • Foresight: Understand the dynamics and directions of change and discovering possible future perspectives.
  • Insight: Make sense of change through strategic alternatives that are convenient, not only for the organisation, but also for society.
  • Action: Strategic planning of how the future of the organisation should look and begin to carry out actions aimed at transforming the present in order to achieve a better future

As time does not stand still, this methodology does not end in the third stage, but has to be started again, in order to anticipate possible changes that, sooner or later, will eventually occur. Hence its cyclical nature.

“We have to understand that, once we have considered possible futures and developed a plan, we cannot stand still. Companies must always be on the look out, analysing the market and anticipating crises,” says the expert.

For Delmotte, market surveillance is a process of competitive intelligence that brings together concrete steps, human and technological skills, and ends with a series of actions that are opportunities for your business.

A multidisciplinary vision to meet challenges head-on

The path of Future Thinking is multidisciplinary, as it is vital to cross different disciplines in order to see, understand and anticipate changes, as Delmotte explains: “Companies must rely on sociologists, anthropologists, economists and other professions in order to be able to analyse the present in a comprehensive way, because anticipation lies at the intersection of knowledge.

To broaden the focus, companies need to consider more than just internal views. In this way, they can get a better perspective on where the market is heading and how you can benefit from changes.

From this perspective, Opinno has its own Future Foresight line, which helps companies that want to prepare for tomorrow in three different ways:

  • Create knowledge about markets: Provide companies with a well-structured observatory that identifies market trends that can impact a specific business area.
  • Open innovation: Create market intelligence within a company through open innovation to share knowledge and understand current trends.
  • Capacity for signal detection and decision-making: Help to build structures within companies that can observe changes, plan strategies and make decisions in a conscious and controlled manner.

“Through these three key points we help companies to be more prepared for the future, providing them with tools that allow them to be more agile and aware of the market that surrounds them,” sums up the Market Intelligence Project Leader of the consulting firm.

If you want to know if your company is taking the necessary precautions to anticipate crises and future opportunities, you can find out by completing this free form. Because it is never too late to face the future.