Tipping point

Tip point helps those looking to create major breakthroughs though radical transformation rather than incremental improvement.

Uses of the method
Provides advanced ideation thinking frames for looking at ‘What’s over the horizon?’ through very different glasses.

Identifies potential disruptions and sudden shifts in direction of an Issue.


  • Requires high intellect, open-mind and world view from team members
  • These assessment tools are for members who have a good grounding in their use. If you do not, we suggest you contact us below.

Steps to complete

Work your way through the method

  • Big question: ask a seemingly intractable question.

    Properly define the big question(s) you are trying to answer. Use a process called "chunk up" to raise your question further and further to higher levels of strategic thinking. Example: Chunk up "how can we enter this market" to "how do we gain eminence in this market by 2015" then chunk again to "how do we become recognized as the undisputed leader in this marketplace by 2015" and so on.
  • Dichotomies: Look for and list contrasting future opposites; e.g.. beliefs, values, assumptions.
  • Paradoxes: Look for and list illogical or contradictory beliefs, that may actually point to an underlying truth. "Less is more" is an example of a paradox.
  • Individual meaning: Look for and list ‘what are our assumptions? What interests do we represent? What might we have overlooked?
  • Shared meaning: Look for and list - What unquestioned civilizational ‘givens’ are involved? How are they observed? What effects do these deeply embedded drivers have? Are these effects acceptable? If not, how can they be moderated or changed? How are they ‘coded’, legitimized, applied in various contexts? What frameworks of theory and practice do they depend on?
  • Capability and behavior: Look for and list the physical and behavioral aspects of human beings encompassing biology, health, reproduction, physical well-being and illness as well as behavior oriented psychology.
  • Physical world: Look for and list the physical and behavioral aspects of human beings encompassing biology, health, reproduction, physical well-being and illness as well as behavior oriented psychology.
  • Unintended consequences: Look for and list potential unintended consequences through actions of people—and especially of government — that are unanticipated or "unintended."
  • Surprises: Look for and list events (Black Swans, Wild cards etc) which are highly unlikely, but would have a huge impact if it did occur e.g. Financial crisis (2007-2010)
  • Plausible changes: As a result of your analysis describe - How might our homes & families change? How might our work change? How might our hobbies & leisure differ? How might we travel & communicate? How might childhood & education differ? How might our environment change? How might government & economy differ? 
  • Tipping points: Look for and list potential moments of future dramatic change and inflection points, especially in the development of a product, service, company, industry or market e.g.. a future equivalent of the Apple iPhone.
  • Realizations? Make an estimate on when the tipping points are likely to occur and highlight key events or changes that might suggest realization is strengthening.
  • Solutions: Now reformulate stories/and images from the previous thinking frames, going up the layers to recast the issue/problem at the highest level from the most coherent perspective you can conceive.
  • Preferable futures: Ask yourself how your reformulation might look if you had unlimited space, or time or cost or a combination of these.Now formulate - What sort of action is needed to bring about your preferable future?
  • Capture your most exciting idea and biggest fear.
  • Determine the fixeded elements (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 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 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?
  • Next steps could include a further round of iteration, a recommendation on how to get the answers or use of other methods such as 'Brainstorm' or scenarios to create more vantage points on the issue.

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.

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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