The notion of Black swans has become an integral part of futurizing discussions, although few have read Nicholas Taleb’s original text. Black swans did exist all the time, but as we did not know of their existence, all swans were white. No need to look for alternatives, we knew! Right. So did we really know that nobody is so stupid that he starts a war in Europe? Or did we just not explore different possibilities that seemed undesirable or not probable to us? Is there a way to escape the knowing-trap and use a larger part of the universe to influence our way to think about futures, and options laying ahead for us?

Senior Advisor Mikael Paltschik shares his reflections on the latest Capful blog post.

The knowing-trap

The notion of Black swans has become an integral part of futurizing discussions, although few have read Nicholas Taleb’s original text. Black swans did exist all the time, but as we did not know of their existence, all swans were white. No need to look for alternatives, we knew! Right. So did we really know that nobody is so stupid that he starts a war in Europe? Or did we just not explore different possibilities that seemed undesirable or not probable to us? Is there a way to escape the knowing-trap and use a larger part of the universe to influence our way to think about futures, and options laying ahead for us?

Senior Advisor Mikael Paltschik shares his reflections on the latest Capful blog post.

Regaining a sense of control in a VUCA² world with strategic foresight

How to apply foresight to strategic decision-making in a VUCA² situation today?

The business environment has, for decades, not been as foggy as it is today. How management teams can start to regain a sense of control in the so-called VUCA² world of extreme uncertainty, using continuous strategic foresight? To begin with, three things are needed: time, a clear strategic agenda, and shared assumptions about the future of the business environment.  

In the latest blog post Capful’s Tomi Heikkinen shares his view on taking the first steps in building a future-driven strategy.

Tornator scenarios – what will happen to forests?

Tornator Plc is a leading European company specialized in sustainable forest management. During the 21st century, Tornator has grown to become the largest private forest owner in Finland and Estonia, as well as a significant forest manager in Romania. Sustainable forestry, forestland purchasing and lease, and silvicultural services form the company’s core business, but Tornator also develops wind power projects and is active in land and soil trading. The business is based on sustainable use of forests as well as a strong environmental expertise and utilization of digital technologies. In 2021, Tornator’s forest assets were valued at around EUR 2.2 billion.

Forestry is undergoing profound changes  

In 2021, the European Commission proposed a large number of new forest regulations. There was even talk of a regulatory landslide. The Commission published its much-anticipated Forest Strategy and promoted several regulations and directives related to the environment, climate, and energy policies. These regulations and directives will also directly or indirectly affect the forest sector by highlighting the role of forests in achieving climate and biodiversity objectives.

To better understand the changes in the operating environment and their impact on Tornator’s business, as well as to strengthen the company’s internal strategic thinking and to define strategic options for the future, Tornator started a scenario study with Capful. The goal of the study was to examine the development of the Finnish forestry sector until 2030.

After the project had already started, the uncertainty in the operating environment increased significantly: Russia invaded Ukraine, and the outlook for the economy that was still recovering from the shock caused by the pandemic became misty again. In addition, the invasion directly shook the Finnish timber market, as timber imports from Russia stopped.

Scenario work contributes to foresight and decision-making – what will happen to forests?

Some of the key questions in the scenario work were: 1) how are forests used in the future and by whom, 2) how will regulation evolve in the future, 3) what is the role of forests in protecting biodiversity, 4) what is the role of forestry in combating climate change, and how will this affect the use of forest assets, and 5) what new forest-related businesses and business models could emerge  by 2030?

Perspectives for the scenarios were sought through an internal survey and interviews with Finnish and international experts on issues such as the green transition, economic and technological development, the EU taxonomy for sustainable activities, and emergency supply in addition to questions directly related to forestry. The impact of the war in Ukraine on the scenarios was also assessed separately by Capful experts.

Capful’s proprietary Scenario Builder™ was used in the project to build logical, plausible, and differentiated scenarios.

Three alternative futures of forestry

The alternative futures of forestry were summarized in three scenarios: 1) Market-driven green transition, 2) Strict EU regulation and energy self-sufficiency, and 3) Forest management secures emergency supply.

The scenarios shed light on the alternative developments that could lead to, for example, a total ban of clear-cutting, a stronger role of the member states in biodiversity questions, a shift towards a higher value-added production in the Finnish forest industry, a ban on plastic use, an increased use of wood fiber in the clothing industry, and a stronger growth of wind power generation. The scenarios also include topics such as energy self-sufficiency, hydrogen economy, the worsening shortages of raw materials, extreme natural events, emissions trading systems, and their implications for Tornator’s alternative operating environments in 2030. Geopolitics had a strong effect on the development of the operating environment in the Forest management secures emergency supply scenario. The scenarios were also quantified in terms of business variables identified as the most significant to Tornator.

Eventually, the implications of the alternative futures to Tornator’s business were examined by analyzing the strategic fit of the company’s current strategy against the scenarios, the scenario independent actions, the scenario specific strategic options and lastly, the contingency plans. In addition, the scenario work and the identified trends and uncertainties provide a solid basis for strategic and future-oriented monitoring of the operating environment.

“Our goal was to enhance our competency in scenario work and thanks to Capful, we succeeded in this. The work took on a whole new dimension when the war in Ukraine broke out in the middle of the project, and the importance of scenario thinking became more concrete for the participants. Capful ran the workshops in an excellent manner and got people talking at an appropriately strategic level.”

– Henrik Nieminen, CEO, Tornator Oyj

Wrong futures?

Turbulence is an ever-present property of most organizations’ operating environment. Thus, different applications of futurizing have become an important practice as we navigate towards uncharted waters ahead. Senior Advisor Mikael Paltschik shares his reflections on the latest Capful blog post.

Become an International Certified Future Strategist (ICFS)

Companies and organizations act in an increasingly complex environment. The speed of change is tremendous. In order to successfully cope with rapid change companies need to understand their business environment as well as the future development.

That is why we have developed a tailored education program with the objective of leading to International Certified Future Strategist (ICFS) and a new job category in Europe.

Until today, there has been no such profession in Europe and we see the urgent need for one to be developed and explored, should Europe be able to successfully compete with other regions of the world. Only by understanding the rapidly changing and increasingly complex world can companies, organisations and public authorities take a lead. The Future Strategist is vital to this aim.

We are delighted to announce the dates for the 2023 ICFS course that will start on February 2023. As usual, the 12-day programme will focus on environmental analysis, scenario, vision, and strategy building. The ICFS is composed of four modules and taught by international business professionals with extended experience in the field.

The programme fee for the ICFS course is €7,000 (all prices are excluding VAT). This is inclusive of lunches and course materials, but exclusive of travel and related costs.

We will repeat venue due to the positive feedback from previous participants. This means we will be holding the 2023 course in Stockholm, Sweden.

The ICFS modules and dates are the following:

Module 1: Environmental analysis 1–3 February
Module 2: Scenarios 8–10 March
Module 3: Vision & strategy analysis 17–19 April
Module 4: Strategy & action 10–12 May
Module 5: Follow-up and certification 7 June

Please visit the programme website here and feel free to contact us for further information.

How to apply:

For registration, please contact Mikael or Jari. You can also arrange a personal demonstration by leaving us your contact information – we will be happy to tell you more about the program.

Mikael Paltschik kuva

Mikael Paltschik, Senior Advisor (+358 50 344 6953)
mikael.paltschik@capful.fi

Jari Puhakka kuva

Jari Puhakka, Senior Partner (+358 40 562 2675)
jari.puhakka@capful.fi

Mental models, worldviews, and the challenge to perceive unpleasant futures!

Are the ”wrong trousers” here again, but now enabling the war in Ukraine?

New geopolitical, bipolar structure seems to be speeding up. We build stronger alliances with those who share the same understanding of the world. The US secretary of treasury, Janet Yellen expressed that the US would now favour “the friend-shoring of supply chains to a large number of trusted countries” that share “a set of norms and values about how to operate in the global economy”.

Although such a development makes it easier to play in your own sandbox, it creates new risks as you do not understand what is happening in another sandbox. Our value systems might hinder us from correctly assess the dynamics in e.g. Asia and how China’s position is evolving.

Senior Advisors Mikael Paltschik and Heini Kaivola shares their reflections on the latest Capful blog post.

How do we ensure a just, prosperous, and resilient Nigeria when it turns 100 in 2060?

This question underpins the Which Way Nigeria – Citizen Scenarios to 2060 (CS60) initiative with the aim of first creating scenarios for the country up to 2060 and then offering a roadmap towards achieving Nigerians’ desired path to the future. CS60 has retained Capful to facilitate the participatory scenario process, which engages civil society in exploring and debating the future of Africa’s powerhouse. 

“Which Way Nigeria – Citizen Scenarios to 2060 provides citizens the very rare opportunity to create the future that they want, not what officials and barons dictate. The initiative is also geared to spark the entire country to be the change and live the change to create the Nigeria that is a global player, not the hobbling giant of Africa.”

– Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri, Olamide Udoma-Ejorh, Bell Ihua, Chukwumerije Okereke, Odeh Friday, Oluseun Onigbinde, Aloysius Bongwa, Richard Dion
Citizen scenarios 2060: A necessary and hard look into the future

The citizen scenarios stem from the existential questions that Nigeria and its citizens have to ask. Topics such as energy transition, agriculture, urban and regional development, education, and health are pivotal to Africa’s largest economy. With Nigerian civil society organizations (CSOs) taking the lead, CS60 brings together leading local and international experts, whilst Capful brings its scenario expertise to the table. Capful’s Scenario Builder® helps create logical, plausible, and differentiated scenarios for Nigeria until 2060. The algorithm-based tool produces a set of initial scenarios that are illustrated in an interactive map. The map helps select logical and thought-provoking alternatives for further examination and brings out novel viewpoints that inspire futures thinking among participants involved in the scenario process.

Last week, CS60 completed its third workshop, with participants exploring the key drivers, uncertainties, and potential outcomes relating to Nigeria’s future and describing the country’s alternative futures. In addition to end-state descriptions, we will define storylines, cause-and-effect relationships, and quantifications of the scenarios to pave the way for further analysis on the implications of the scenarios for Nigeria.

After the scenario phase, CS60 moves on to outline a roadmap towards achieving the desired future Nigeria through a combination of leadership, policy reform, and investments. The roadmap, created by CSOs, will include intended milestones tied to the timeline and it will serve as the basis for actions needed to achieve a just, prosperous and resilient Nigeria that its citizens deserve.

“With its abundant resources and its population likely to hit 400 million by 2050, Nigeria holds immense future potential. Helping facilitate the scenario process that engages Nigeria’s civil society has been both demanding and meaningful.”

– Arto Kaunonen, Capful’s Founder and Senior Partner

Interested?

Contact us


Arto Kaunonen
Founding Partner
050 356 0717        
arto.kaunonen(at)capful.fi

Capful cooperates with Kemira in scenario work

Capful and Kemira have collaborated in scenario work with the aim to envision the future of water management by 2040.

What will the future of water management look like? Will citizens become more aware and activate around clean water topics? Will conflicts erupt because of water scarcity? Will megacities and global corporations take a more prominent role – also in water provision? How does digitalization impact the clean water value chain? What about regulation?

To understand what the future of water management might hold, an influential panel of water sector experts were invited to discuss different challenges, opportunities and possible paths ahead.

The “what if?” stories presented in this report can give food for thought for strategic discussions, inspire cooperation, technology development, and encourage new and innovative ways of thinking.

The decisions we make today about water access, quality, solutions for water treatment and water reuse impact the future living conditions of communities around the world. What will actually happen? No one knows. But it’s important to consider the possibilities.

Learn more about the “Water management 2040 -future scenarios” and download the report here.

Interested in scenario work?

Contact us!


Jari Puhakka
Senior Partner
040 562 2675
jari.puhakka(at)capful.fi

Scenario services to help understand the future amid coronavirus uncertainty


Capful offers scenario services to help make sense of the future amid coronavirus uncertainty.

The corona pandemic is without precedent in the modern era. Several billion people are under lockdown, and large parts of the economy have frozen. There is no old playbook to copy in this crisis. For organisations struggling to navigate the crisis and wondering what world will emerge from the shock, Capful has put together four alternative scenario packages that focus on different phases and aspects of the crisis. Our proprietary software tool, the Scenario Builder™, makes our scenario process highly effective and efficient. The four packages we offer are outlined below. Please have a look and contact us to find out more.

CRISIS SCENARIOS

  • Alternative scenarios for the epidemic’s progression
  • Duration and phases: case growth and other aspects
  • Depth and severity of the twin crisis: health and economy
  • Impact of scenarios on different sectors, response plans
  • Organisation-specific impact analyses, need for change
  • Time span: 4-18 months

OUT OF CRISIS SCENARIOS

  • Alternative scenarios for how the complex pandemic-induced crisis will unfold
  • When and how will we emerge from the crisis?
  • New and old normal in the short term
  • Implications on strategy, testing of strategies against scenarios
  • Time span: 2-5 years

FROM CRISIS SCENARIOS TO GROWTH

  • External shock as a source of innovation
  • Scenarios as platform for new growth ideas and business opportunities
  • Concretising growth ideas and testing against selected criteria
  • Selected growth ideas in existing, adjacent and new markets
  • Time span: 5-15 years
  • External shock as a source of innovation
  • Scenarios as platform for new growth ideas and business opportunities
  • Concretising growth ideas and testing against selected criteria
  • Selected growth ideas in existing, adjacent and new markets
  • Time span: 5-15 years

AFTER CRISIS SCENARIOS

  • Big picture after the pandemic
  • From crisis to creative destruction, compounding effects of the pandemic
  • Permanent effects or new normal in the long run
  • Reversible effects, factors returning to old normal
  • New vision and strategy emerging after the crisis
  • Time span: 10-20 years

Contact us, we are glad to tell more about the scenarios.

Gasgrid Finland updates its strategy in cooperation with Capful


Gasgrid Finland, a Finnish state-owned gas transmission system operator has prepared four scenarios concerning the future of gases to base its strategy work on. Scenario work seeks an in-depth understanding of changes in the operating environment that are to be utilized later in the strategy phase. In the scenario phase, Capful helped Gasgrid Finland to look far into the future and to see alternative developments in the industry, key forces for change in the operating environment and the associated uncertainty.

The preparation of the scenarios to form the basis of Gasgrid’s strategy started in February 2020. The scenario work has been a modern, open journey of exploration into possible visions of the future.

In the course of the scenario work, the understanding that the Finnish gas sector has possibilities to have an impact on its future has strengthened, however it requires work. If we as a sector believe in our possibilities to create significant benefit for the society as it strives to become carbon-neutral, we must work in even stronger collaboration and relay this message – both in words and in actions,” summarizes Anni Sarvaranta, who leads strategy work at Gasgrid Finland.

The scenarios are presented in more detail on Gasgrid’s website at Gases as Part of the Energy System of the Future.

Further information:

Anni Sarvaranta, Senior Vice President, Strategy and Market Development, tel. +358 50 348 2071, anni.sarvaranta[at]gasgrid.fi.

Gasgrid Finland Oy is a Finnish state-owned gas transmission system operator with system responsibility. Gasgrid Finland ensures safe, cost-efficient and reliable gas transmission for the customers and society.

The preparation of the scenarios to form the basis of Gasgrid’s strategy started in February 2020. The scenario work has been a modern, open journey of exploration into possible visions of the future.

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