The Mind of a Fox is a book on scenario planning by the South African business strategists Clem Sunter and Chantell Ilbury. It details a philosophy where strategists should explore the future; if you are aware of what could happen, you are better able to prepare for what will happen.
When I first met Chantell, she was looking for a way to bring her model of scenario planning to a younger audience and I was looking at an inspiring way to teach critical thinking skills. We realised that the kind of structured processes explored in her book are ideally suited to help young people develop and test options before embarking on a strategic plan. We sat down to try to create a framework for school students, and the concept of the Growing Foxes course was born. After some trial sessions, that I ran at Mount House in 2017, the course has now been fully developed and launched in South Africa this year.
The trouble with the future is that you don’t know what it is going to be until it arrives. At that point it can be too late to plan for it. A ‘Foxy’ strategist will be able to assimilate a number of different alternative outcomes and prepare for them; this allows them to find a route around problems and get to a successful outcome. In contrast, the ‘Hedgehog’ sees only one route to success; if that route becomes blocked, there is no alternative plan.
This week we had the training for the Growing Foxes course. Next week we will start to roll out the 10 lesson course to pupils in the school, starting with year 9. This is an exciting initiative for the school as we will be the only school in the UK running the course this year. We will be leading the pack; a great place to be!