Now Trending – Hindsight, Insight, and Foresight

Now Trending – Hindsight, Insight, and Foresight. I was just in Halifax delivering our Print in a Digital World Trend Report to a very engaged audience of Canada Post partners, agencies and marketers. One of the questions I’m continually asked after delivering our report is… How do I make sense of the shifting world, amass business intelligence and best position my company for the changing customer?

Ok. It’s a multifaceted question. And when people ask it, they seem somewhat baffled, a little overwhelmed and truly adrift in this world of flux – no matter the size of the company. The answer to acquiring business intelligence, optimally positioning your company and knowing how to engage your customer is interpreting hindsight, insight and foresight. But what does this mean? These very terms are now bantered around with as much regularity and casual nuance as the word ‘disruption’ was just one year ago…

Business intelligence is described as “a set of techniques for acquisition and transformation of raw data into meaningful and useful information for business analysis purposes.” To achieve it, every brand needs to turn their focus to three aspects for guidance: 1. Hindsight – the ability to reflect and learn from the past; 2. Insight – the facility to interpret and respond to the present; and 3. Foresight – the capacity to predict and prepare for the future.

Hindsight underscores the value of experience and evidence. It’s like taking a look at the future through the eyes of the past. And while waiting for history to repeat itself and holding on too tightly to the good old days is comforting, what you need to take away from hindsight are the lessons you’ve learned, the knowledge you’ve acquired, and how those scars and badges help you navigate the potholes ahead.

Insight accentuates the value of tactics and reality. It’s like drawing a picture of the future as an extrapolation of current events and trends. You have to be acutely attuned to what’s happening around you, and look at how responding correctly now will help you experience success in the future. Your focus becomes about where you are now and what step you could or should take next.

Foresight emphasizes possibilities and innovation. It’s looking at the future as an uncharted territory or a clean slate. Although you still reflect on the past and respond to the present, with foresight you are infinitely more concerned with organizing for the future. You evaluate your brand with fleeting looks in the rear view mirror and heightened awareness of your surroundings, but more than anything else you have a clear focus on where you are going and what’s approaching on the road ahead.

Simply put, brands need enhanced hindsight (to understand successes, failures, and their causes), superior insight (to make real-time business decisions), and eminent foresight (to map their strategies for tomorrow). You become an alchemist – mixing, matching and marrying the best of all worlds, but when you accurately analyze your business in this way, it’s amazing how clear your “why” becomes, how useful the data you capture can be, and how evident your path actually is.


Michael Chase, CMO
St. Joseph Communications

#MMM >

Posted on May 2, 2016 in Leadership, Marketing, Trends

Share the Story

About the Author

Michael Chase - a true hybrid – part strategist, part data monkey, part creative director, part global growth hacker (when you're doing bic pen tracheotomies you still have to think of EBITDA) and through and through an innovator.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top