An overview of environmental scanning.
Environmental scanning in a strategic sense is about building a global context for your work, your organisation, your competitive environment and your industry. It is about recognising that the future is unlikely to be anything like the past, and that we therefore need to spend some time understanding the trends and likely influencers on the future of our organisations. High quality scanning is the core of effective futures work.
Choo, in his article The Art of Scanning the Environment writes: “The external environment may be viewed as a source of information, as a pool of resources, or as an ecological milieu” that “differentially selects certain types of organizations for survival on the basis of the fit between organizational forms and environmental characteristics”. He sees the primary task of scanning as identifying relevant sources of external change and exploring how that change may evolve into the future, in order to inform present assessments of the degree of likely impact on…