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Nokia - Hiltunen - weak signals

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					                             Weak
                             signals,
                             future sign
                             and
                             signification
                             process
                             Elina Hiltunen,
                             Futurist, Strategic Foresightning Manager,Nokia,
                             Corporate Strategy



Elina.m.hiltunen@nokia.com
1
A weak signal definition (Kuusi et al, 2000,
based on a delphoi Sudy)

The most supported weak future signal:


A weak future signal is an early warning of change, which typically becomes
 stronger by combining with other signals. The significance of a weak future signal
 is determined by the objectives of its recipient, and finding it typically requires
 systematic searching. A weak future signal requires: i) support, ii) critical mass,
 iii) growth of its influence space, and dedicated actors, i.e. ‘the champions’, in
 order to become a strong future signal, or to prevent itself from becoming a
 strong negative signal. A weak future signal is usually recognised by pioneers or
 special groups not by acknowledged experts.

Kuusi, O., Hiltunen, E. and Linturi, H. (2000) Heikot tulevaisuussignaalit –
Delfoi tutkimus (Weak signals- a Delphi study). Futura, Vol. 2., 78-92.

Elina.m.hiltunen@nokia.com
2
Antidefinition for weak signal

An ‘anti-definition’ of weak future signal:
It is crucial for the credibility of a weak future signal that it comes from
   acknowledged experts, and those experts are also most able to recognize weak
   signals. A weak future signal is not dependent on an interpreter, i.e. it is an
   objective phenomenon. The weak future signal anticipates processes that have
   radical impacts on future and it typically includes a sign, which needs to be
   seized immediately. An important weak future signal strengthens by itself over
   time, since it is an early warning of a general rising trend.




Kuusi, O., Hiltunen, E. and Linturi, H. (2000) Heikot tulevaisuussignaalit –
Delfoi tutkimus (Weak signals- a Delphi study). Futura, Vol. 2., 78-92.

Elina.m.hiltunen@nokia.com
3
Moijanen, 2003, criticized the previous study:
              Property of weak signal         Different views
        1.    Transition phenomenon           - A weak signal is the same as the transition
                                              phenomenon, that is going to get stronger or weaker
                                              in the future
                                              - A phenomenon interpreted as a weak signal is
                                              triggering changes
                                              - A weak signal is a sign of changes in the future (a
                                              consequence of something that already exists)
        2.    Duration of a weak signal       Weak signals lasts only a moment:
                                              1) Weak signals seen as a sign that lasts for a
                                              moment, but a phenomenon behind it lasts longer
                                              OR
                                              2) Weak signals are phenomena that last for a short
                                              time (wild cards?)
                                              Weak signal lasts longer:
                                              1) A weak signal is a cause for a change in the future
                                              2) A weak signal is a phenomenon itself
        3.    objectivity/subjectivity of a   - Weak signals are independent of their receiver.
              signal                          “Weak signals float in the phenomena space and
                                              wait for someone to find them”
                                              - A weak signal does not exist without a receiver
                                              (and the interpretation of the receiver) of it.
        4.    Different ways to interpret     - Interpretation adds subjectivity to the signal - even
Elina.m.hiltunen@nokia.com
              the same signal                 though it is thought to be objective. The
4
                                              interpretation of a same signal can be different from
                                                                                                           1
                                                                                                           2
                                                                      3.   objectivity/subjectivity of a   -
                                                                           signal                          “
                                                                                                           w
                                                                                                           -
                                                                                                           (a
                                                                      4.   Different ways to interpret     -
                                                                           the same signal                 th
                                                                                                           in
                                                                                                           th
                                                                                                           s
                                                                      4b   Strengthening of a weak         -
                                                                           signal                          -
                                                                                                           s
                                                                                                           -
                                                                                                           s
                                                                      5.   Receivers/observers/            -
                                                                           analysts of the signal          o
                                                                                                           -
                                                                      6.   Who analyses and draws the      -
                                                                           conclusions?                    re
                                                                                                           -W
    M. Moijanen, Heikot signaalit tulevaisuuden tutkimuksessa
                                                                                                           w
    (Weak signals in futures studies), Futura, Vol 4, (2003) 38-60.
                                                                                                           -W
                                                                                                           c
Elina.m.hiltunen@nokia.com
5
What are Weak Signals?????
• What are differences between weak signals and wild
  cards?
• Are weak signals just signs of emerging issue or are they
  emerging issues by themselves?
• How to define the weakness of a signal?
• Is it possible that a weak signal is interpreted as strong
  and weak at the same time by different actors?
• How is the change happening and how are weak signals
  related to it?


Elina.m.hiltunen@nokia.com
6
Weak Signals and Wild Cards- relation


                    Wild card                                                    Wild card scenarios
                    events                                                       =scenarios that are emphasized by an
                                                                                 imaginary, low probability, surprising event
                                                              Scenario A         that has dramatic consequences




                                                                            Scenario B
                                Weak signals




             Past                        Present                  Future
                                         Elina Hiltunen, Was It a Wild Card or just our Blindness to Gradual Change?
                                         Journal of Future Studies, Nov. 2006, 11 (2), 61-74.

Elina.m.hiltunen@nokia.com
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                H&M selling used clothes in some of their stores-
                             A weak signals or not??

         + only few cases (about 2% of the stores)
         - A big news story in the main Finnish news paper many people know

Elina.m.hiltunen@nokia.com
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A Sign by Peirce




    Source:http://www.gypsymoth.ento.vt.edu/~sharov/biosem/txt/origsign.html
Elina.m.hiltunen@nokia.com
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     Elina, Hiltunen,
     The Future Sign and Its Three Dimensions,
     Futures




Elina.m.hiltunen@nokia.com
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Weak signal: sign or emerging issue?


                                       A Strong
                                       sign
               signal
The amount of
Information,                          Strengthening of a sign
Visibility of signals
                                                        interpretation
                                                       Understanding of the
                                                       meaning of the issue for
                        A Weak sign
                                                       the future
                                             issue
                                       The number/
Elina.m.hiltunen@nokia.com             percentage of cases
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           signal
                                                          Case
                                                          Nokia

                             Case
                             H&M
                                                                       interpretation




                                                       issue
               Distance from the origin = strength of the sign:
                                 distance from the origin, Case H&M
                                                                                Total sign
                                     distance from the origin, Case Nokia       strength
Elina.m.hiltunen@nokia.com
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Weak signal: Objective or subjective??




Elina.m.hiltunen@nokia.com
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 Future oriented signification process
 (i.e. weak signals in process of change)


                                  Exosign= signal in outside
                                  the world (objective)
                                  Primary exosign= first
                                  Exosignal
                                  Secondary exosign=
                                  Exosign that was interpreted
Kuusi
and                               Endosign= signal in our mind
Hiltunen,                         (includes interpretation),
2007                              subjective




  Elina.m.hiltunen@nokia.com
 14
What are Weak Signals?????
• What are differences between weak signals and wild cards? Wild cards big
  events, weak signals small signs
• Are weak signals just signs of emerging issue or are they emerging issues by
  themselves? Signs of emerging issues
• How to define the weakness of a signal? By defining the info available on
  emerging issues (little information= weak signal, much information= strong signal)
• Is it possible that a weak signal is interpreted as strong and weak at the same
  time by different actors? Signals are objective, but observation is many times
  limited
• How is the change happening and how are weak signals related to it?
  signification process explains this




Elina.m.hiltunen@nokia.com
15
What is the role of weak signals in
  organizational futures learning process?

                                    Organizational
                                    Learning- combining
                                    the models of
                                    Barr et al., 1992,
                                    March and Olen, 1979,
                                    Nonaka and Takeuchi, 1995




Elina.m.hiltunen@nokia.com
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International study for Futurists                                  6
                                                                   7
                                                                        consultants in other area than futures
                                                                        popular science and economic magazines
                                                                   8    television/ radio
about good sources for weak                                        9
                                                                   10
                                                                        educational and scientific books
                                                                        Internet: companies' or organizations' web pages
                                                                   11   ordinary people (e.g. observing them)
signals                                                            12
                                                                   13
                                                                        media people
                                                                        Internet: electric journals
number                  Scan the Scanners
of order A good source for weak signals
                                                                   13
                                                                   15
                                                                        Internet: homepages of individual people/consulta
                                                                        email newsletters
                                                                   16   science fiction movies, books etc.
1           scientist/researchers
                                                                   17   government and other public sector reports
2           futurists                                              17   Internet: discussion groups
3           colleagues                                             19   Internet: blogs
4           academic and scientific journals                       20   marginal/underground press
5           reports of research institutes                         21   periodicals
6           consultants in other area than futures                 22   local newspapers
7           popular science and economic magazines                 23   Internet: electric databases
8           television/ radio                                      24   government officials
9           educational and scientific books                       25   email lists
10          Internet: companies' or organizations' web pages26          movies
11          ordinary people (e.g. observing them)                  27   artists
12          media people                                           28   market research studies
13          Internet: electric journals                            29   politicians
13          Internet: homepages of individual people/consultants   29   annual reports of companies
15          email newsletters                                      31   family/friends
16          science fiction movies, books etc.                     32   patents
 Read more here: N=118 other public sector reports
17          government and                                         33   doctoral dissertations
            Internet: Do Future Oriented People Find Weak Signals? 34
 Elina Hiltunen, Wherediscussion groups
17                                                                      proposals for laws
 FFRC eBook 2/2007. Finland Futures Research Centre,
19          Internet: blogs                                        35   other source?
            marginal/underground 978-951-564-452-7., available online
 Turku School of Economics. 40 s. ISBNpress
20                                                                 36   art exhibitions
21          periodicals
            local newspapers
22 Elina.m.hiltunen@nokia.com
23 17       Internet: electric databases
24          government officials
the Futures’ Window- tool for disseminating
weak signals in organizations




                              Elina Hiltunen, The Futures Window – A Medium for Presenting
                              Visual Weak Signals to Trigger Employees’ Futures Thinking
                              in Organizations, HSE Publications, working paper- w-423, 2007, available online
 Elina.m.hiltunen@nokia.com
18
Elina.m.hiltunen@nokia.com
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                        A visual weak signal
Elina.m.hiltunen@nokia.com
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Pilot 1.
                                  100,0

                                                                                                   In my opinion, it is important
                                   90,0
                                                                                                   to to think in a
                                                                 The Futures Window                                                           It should be possible
                                                                                                   futures oriented
                                   80,0                          could be a useful activator                                                  for all employees
                                                                                                   way in my work.
                                                                 of futures thinking                                                          to send images to
                                   70,0                          in my own work.                                                              the Futures Window.
      procentage of respondents




                                                                                                             In VTT there could be
                                   60,0
                                                     Futures Window gave                                     Futures Windows
                                                     me new ideas                                            for example in                            The Futures Window gave
                                   50,0
                                                     about the future.                                       canteens and coffee rooms.                me new ideas about the
                                                                                                                                                       possibilities of the
                                   40,0
                                                                                                                                                       technology area that
                                                                                                                                                        I am working with
                                                                                                                                                       in the future.
                                   30,0


                                   20,0


                                   10,0


                                    0,0
                                          FD SD SA FA    ?   FD SD SA FA    ?   FD SD SA FA    ?     FD SD SA FA       ?   FD SD SA FA    ?     FD SD SA FA    ?
                                               claim 1            claim 2            claim 3                 claim 4            claim 5              claim 6
                                                                                        claims and answers


                                          FD= fully disagree, SD= somehow disagree, SA=somehow agree,
                                          FA= fully agree, ?= cannot say

Elina.m.hiltunen@nokia.com
21
Images that stuck to people’s mind

                      Reason              Number of times
                                           mentioned by
                                            respondents
It irritated me                      7
It was a new thing to me             10
It amazed me                         5
It made me laugh                     8
It raised my interest                16
It raised positive feelings          24
It raised negative feelings          18
Some other reason                    11

Elina.m.hiltunen@nokia.com
22
Elina.m.hiltunen@nokia.com
23
My academic articles/ papers:
•    Elina Hiltunen, Was It a Wild Card or just our Blindness to Gradual Change?
     Journal of Future Studies, Nov. 2006, 11 (2), 61-74.
•    Elina, Hiltunen, The Future Sign and Its Three Dimensions, Futures, In Press,
     Accepted Manuscript, Available online 1 September 2007
•    Osmo Kuusi and Elina Hiltunen, The Signification Process of the Future Sign,
     FFRC eBooks 4/2007. Finland Futures Research Centre, Turku School of
     Economics. 24 p. ISBN 978-951-564-510-4.
•    Elina Hiltunen, Good Sources for Weak Signals: A Global Study of Where
     Futurists Look For Weak Signals, Journal of Future Studies, May 2008,
     12(4):21-44.
•    Elina Hiltunen, The Futures Window – A Medium for Presenting Visual Weak
     Signals to Trigger Employees’ Futures Thinking in Organizations, HSE
     Publications, working paper- w-423, 2007



Elina.m.hiltunen@nokia.com
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