We examine to what extent successful business-development activities in uncertain environments can be classified as corporate foresight and to what extent they have been intentional and systematic. Beginning with identifying successful cases of new-business development in Bottom of the Pyramid markets, we use various data sources to reconstruct timelines and map corporate foresight activities. We selected the cases to maximise their heterogeneity in firm size, industry, nature of the product and ownership structure. Our findings suggest that the probing (experimental search) phase is particularly important in unknown and uncertain environments but that perceiving and prospecting (cognitive search) activities are necessary to find distant opportunities. In addition, we find that successful business-development activities rely on multiple iterations between perceiving, prospecting and probing. Our findings emphasize that corporate foresight should include activities that encompass both experimental and cognitive search elements.
Technology Analysis & Strategic Management
Number of pages
Accepted/In press - Apr 2017
Corporate Foresight, Business Development, Cognitive Search, Experimental Search