Hardin undertakes consulting work through his firm Synthesys Strategic Consulting. This work lies at the intersection between researching the future and developing strategy. The objective is to move organizational thinking beyond prevailing perceptions of the future, going deeper to question basic assumptions and broader to include a wider range of factors and interactions. The resulting insights are then brought to bear on strategic thinking – helping decision makers to sharpen their focus and clarity.
The essence of the work involves bringing a more thoughtful approach to an organization’s existing strategy and its dependencies, and more sustained exploration when the future possibilities are being reviewed. The ideas that emerge are then mapped to clearly frame the decision issues and positioning space. The research front-end involves interviews and desk research, and the processing stage includes systems mapping and facilitated discussions, aka ’strategic conversations.’ The expanded awareness of relevant factors and how they interact usually leads directly to new concepts that can guide strategy formulation.
There are many formal tools and techniques that are useful in this work, including horizon scanning, trend spotting, systems thinking, scenario development, options generation, visioning, strategic positioning, and tracking. Often though, the most effective work is done when knowledge of these formal approaches is operating in the background and the work is free to flow in an intuitive and creative way.
The same approach can be applied to presentations and keynotes on future-oriented topics, which can be directly related to an organization’s field of activity. If you have any questions about this type of consulting, please contact Hardin directly.