How to Do Strategic Planning Like a Futurist.

I recently helped a large industrial manufacturing company with its strategic planning process. With so much uncertainty surrounding autonomous vehicles, 5G, robotics, global trade, and the oil markets, the company’s senior leaders needed a set of guiding objectives and strategies linking the company’s future to the present day. Before our work began in earnest, executives had already decided on a title for the initiative: Strategy 2030.

I was curious to know why they chose that specific year — 2030 — to benchmark the work. After all, the forces affecting the company were all on different timelines: Changes in global trade were immediate concerns, while the field of robotics will have incremental advancements, disappointments, and huge breakthroughs — sometimes years apart. Had the executives chosen the year 2030 because of something unique to the company happening 11 years from today?

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