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Weak Signals for Strategic Intelligence: Anticipation Tool for Managers

Weak Signals for Strategic Intelligence: Anticipation Tool for Managers

Humbert Lesca, Nicolas Lesca

ISBN: 978-1-118-60277-5

Feb 2013, Wiley-ISTE

230 pages


The expression "We did not see it coming!" has often been heard in recent years from decision makers at the highest levels of the private and public sectors. Yet there were actually early warning signals, but they were often ignored due to a lack of appropriate methodology. Focusing on the concept of a weak signal, this book provides methods for anticipating problems and dealing with blind spots. Along with examples of this concept, the authors provide answers to questions of feasibility, including how to recognize a weak signal, and how to exploit it. Numerous applications are also presented throughout.

Introduction xi

Chapter 1. Concepts, Issues and Hypotheses 1

1.1. Introduction: governance and radar 1

1.2. The organization’s environment and its governance through a “storm” 8

1.3. Anticipation (act of looking forward) 15

1.4. Anticipative information: two types 23

1.5. Weak signals 25

1.6. Detecting weak signals 43

1.7. Interpreting, amplifying and exploiting weak signals to support strategic decision making 47

1.8. Puzzle® method for the operationalization of CCM 59

1.9. Global VASIC process for detecting, recognizing and utilizing weak signals 69

1.10. Conclusion 79

Chapter 2. Detecting, Recognizing and Corroborating a Weak Signal: Applications 81

2.1. Recognition of a weak signal: examples 82

2.2. Making a new weak signal reliable 95

2.3. Conclusion 101

Chapter 3. Utilization of Weak Signals, Collective Creation of Meaning: Applications 105

3.1. The Roger case: should we fear this new entrant to our industry? (the banking sector) 105

3.2. The case for “valorizing CO2 as a commodity”: a preliminary study for the selection of a new
strategic direction 119

3.3. The Danone case. The ministry is worried: are there signs showing that companies will destroy jobs over the next two years? Could Danone leave France? 132

3.4. The Opel case: initiating collective transversal intelligence to aid strategic decision-making 147

3.5. Conclusion 163

Chapter 4. Preparation of Weak Signals for Sessions in Collective Creation of Meaning: Applications 169

4.1. Introduction: two starting situations 169

4.2. The Roger case (continued): how are the news briefs used in the Roger CCM session prepared? 170

4.3. CO2 valorization case: automatic search for “news briefs” 174

4.4. The Danone case: preparation of the weak signals 181

4.5. Software modules for assisting in the automatic search for news briefs 185

4.6. Conclusion 196

Conclusion 199

Glossary 203

Bibliography 217

Index 227