Mind-set seeks to examine an issue from the end users perspective and generate fresh solutions. Using techniques such as focus groups, ethnography and desk research the object is to identify new opportunities that better satisfy users needs.

Uses of the method

  • New product and service development


  • Valuable method to ensure that all the relevant issues have been considered
  • Systematic, comprehensive and multi-purpose
  • Can be used by both individual analysts and teams


  • May be incomplete if not used with other methods or iterations do not go deep enough.
  • Can be very expensive and time consuming

Steps to complete

  • Write a short and very clear statement of purpose.
  • Now summarize the research you have found or done on the issue using the template
  • Take a detached, objective, arm's length viewpoint and list the key weaknesses with the existing product.
  • Imagine you are the issue and list further weaknesses.
  • Then describe solutions to the issues weaknesses that can be found in other products. Examine weaknesses from the vantage points of:
    - Social currency: the more something looks good the more people pass it on
    - Triggers: the more something is top-of-mind the more people pass it on
    - Emotion: the more we care, the more people share
    - Public: the more people see others doing something, the more they will
    - Practical value: the more things help people the more they help pass it on
    - Storytelling: the more inspiring the message, the more people pass it on
  • Describe the users articulated and non-articulated desires.
  • Develop a list of inspirational improvements that can be identified above from your analysis above. 
  • Capture your most exciting idea and biggest fear.
  • Determine the fixed factors (almost certain hard trends) that will inform your strategic response: slow-changing phenomena e.g. demographic shifts, constrained situations e.g. resource limits, in the pipeline e.g. aging of baby boomers, inevitable collisions e.g. climate change arguments.
  • Capture variable factors: critical uncertainties i.e. variables, soft trends and potential surprises. Both these and the fixed elements will be key to creating scenarios and examining potential future paradigm shifts.
  • Capture unique insight into new ways of seeing that can be utilized by the organization. What are the advantages and disadvantages?
  • What conclusions can we draw from the exercise(s)?
    • How might the future be different?
    • How does A affect B?
    • What is likely to remain the same or change significantly?
    • What are the likely outcomes?
    • What and who will likely shape our future?
    • Where could we be most affected by change?
    • What might we do about it?
    • What don't we know that we need to know?
    • What should we do now, today?
    • Why do we care?
    • When should we aim to meet on this?
  • Finish by noting your next steps. Next steps could include a further round of iteration, a recommendation on how to get the answers or use of other research and methods such as 'Starburst' to create more vantage points on the issue. Repeat the exercise from a different perspective e.g., taking a negative view or an unusual position, or from the viewpoint of another stakeholder. (see the Tear-Down thinking method here).

This method and your response can be shared with other members or kept private using the 'Privacy' field and through the 'Tag', 'Report' and 'Forum' functionalities. Use 'Tag' and/or 'Report' to aggregate your analyzes, or add a 'Forum' to ask others where they agree/disagree and encourage them to make their own analysis from their unique vantage point.

Click the 'Invite tab to send invitations to other members or non-members (colleagues, external experts etc.) to ask for their input. You can whether or not you want anonymous responses.  These can be viewed and exported within the Responses tab.

Further reference

Contact us
Even with all the advice and tools we have provided here starting a foresight project from scratch can be a daunting prospect to a beginner. Let us know if you need help with this method or want a group facilitation exercise or full project or program carrying out by us. We promise to leave behind more internal knowledgeable people who can expand your initiative for better organizational performance.

Contact us today for a free discussion on your needs.

Are there other enhancements or new methods you would like to see here? Let us know and we will do our best to respond with a solution quickly.

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