At KerrSmith our expertise in Strategic Foresight is our leading differentiator in research, strategy and design. Our approach is unique. We are industry frontrunners because of our deep personal commitment to all our projects.

What is Strategic Foresight?


We use exploratory sessions and a rigourous methodology to determine and investigate those Futures.

Strategic Foresight is a disciplined, structured and systemic way of looking at and using ideas about the future to anticipate and better prepare for change and disruption. Strategic Foresight explores different plausible futures that could occur, and the opportunities and challenges that might unfold with each. Foresight is not about predicting the future, but rather about establishing and examining probable and credible futures. We use exploratory sessions and a rigourous methodology to determine and investigate those Futures to make better decisions about tomorrow by acting today.

In a world filled with constant, nearly daily change, who has not been surprised or even blind-sided or by an unexpected news story, disruption, or a dramatic turn of events in a geographic region or industry? Does your business need to rethink a strategy or product line because of something you had not expected? Has a new technology changed a manufacturing or delivery technique? Has climate change radically interfered with your organization’s budgets, schedules or resource availability? How will demographic changes change your strategy? What economic implications might there be of global power shifts or local events? Navigating all of this much unsureness can be overwhelming.

Through horizon scanning, ethnographic research, stakeholder engagement, trend and driver analysis and scenario planning, Strategic Foresight will help you to anticipate and better prepare for the future. Foresight supports strategy, resiliency planning, policy-making and business blue prints. It facilitates open-minded thinking in a collaborative environment. It forewarns of challenges to mitigate and opportunities to exploit.

KerrSmith and Strategic Foresight

Founded in 2003, KerrSmith has established our reputation as one of North America's leading Strategic Foresight firms through international and broad cross-sector expertise. Our foundation is built on deep Foresight experience and includes a wide range of industries and clients of every size. We boast an unparalleled commitment to excellence in our Futures work, underpinned by rigorous engagement, research and investigative standards. We use critical thinking in our Strategic Foresight process to frame projects, articulate needs and outline strategies.

KerrSmith’s strength lies in a vast proprietary database of signals, coupled with our unique abilities in Horizon Scanning, Scenario Planning, Future Ready Innovation Platforms, Resiliency Planning, Speculative Futures and Design Futures.

A sampling of some of our Strategic Foresight reports.


We are passionate about Foresight.

Clients Include

City of Vancouver
Elections Canada
Canadian Forces College
Ministry of Transportation
United Way
Canadian Opera Company
National Ballet of Canada
City of Calgary
City of Toronto
South Pacific Community
Ontario College of Teachers

KerrSmith operates with a service-driven approach. We collaborate with our clients, immersing ourselves in an understanding of their culture, context and their issues. The team, comprised of experienced researchers and Foresighters takes immense pride in our work ethic, accuracy, and reliability. This dedication has enabled KerrSmith to work in partnership with clients around the world, always prioritizing their best interests and striving for outstanding insightful results.

In the ever-evolving landscape of research, strategy and design, where the demands of volatile markets constantly shift, KerrSmith leads with our deep expertise across sectors, locations, and scales of Strategic Foresight. We recognize that while standard research and strategy frameworks have made formulating solutions appear easier, the true challenge lies in discovering, articulating and exploring future issues. Our Strategic Foresight approach builds truly resilient future-aware solutions.

We look at our clients’ culture, purpose, their competitive environment, value propositions, target markets and internal systems with a nuanced approach to Foresight, which involves understanding goals and capabilities.

By doing a situation analysis, looking for ‘faint” signals on the horizon, using a framework to eliminate bias and scan in unexpected places we identify major trends and then pinpoint the "Drivers of Change" behind those trends for our clients. From there it is possible to create plausible scenarios for the future. The next step is to discuss implications and insights to lay the groundwork for appropriate or innovative solutions. Strategic Foresight is about looking forwards, not backwards for solutions in a collaborative and energetic process.

Strategic Foresight is useful for risk management, corporate strategies, policies or the development of innovative design strategies and concepts that look towards the future.

"Strategic Foresight explores different plausible futures that could occur, and the opportunities and challenges that might unfold with each."

Leadership in Strategic Foresight:
The Vision of Helen Kerr & Nigel Smith

KerrSmith is led by Helen Kerr and Nigel Smith. Our pioneering journey in Strategic Foresight began in product and system design, where research and planning on the implications of design decision-making, project needs and changing human behaviour and contexts established a forward visioning methodology for all our projects – in essence a Strategic Foresight approach – that became our established practice.

Our hands-on leadership is responsible for crafting the specific and unique techniques that set KerrSmith apart. With decades of combined experience in research, strategy, and design, Helen and Nigel have been the driving forces behind our commitment to innovative and future-ready problem solving.

Helen Kerr brings a nuanced understanding of cross-sector challenges and opportunities, leading our Strategic Foresight initiatives with a unique ability to synthesize research input and pinpoint insights. Helen’s expertise has been pivotal in shaping our rigorous research protocols and engagement strategies. Our ability to identify the most relevant 'Drivers of Change' is crucial to deliver actionable foresight. We excel in scenario planning and resiliency planning, ensuring that our clients are not just prepared for the future but are also equipped to shape it.

Helen teaches Strategic Foresight at both the University of Waterloo and OCAD University. She lectures internationally and speaks at Futures conferences around the world. Nigel Smith's knowledge of communications and brand enterprise coupled with deep investigative design research adds further perspective to KerrSmith's Foresight practice.

Together, Helen and Nigel have fostered a culture of excellence and collaboration within KerrSmith. Their hands-on involvement in each project ensures that clients benefit from leading strategic guidance. We tailor specific Futures project-plans to meet individual goals and challenges. Helen and Nigel take personal pride in the team’s work ethic, accuracy, and reliability, qualities that have established KerrSmith’s Strategic Foresight reputation on a global stage.

Our leadership extends beyond the confines of specific projects, as we are sought-after thought leaders in Strategic Foresight. Whether it’s through whitepapers, keynote speeches, or collaborative workshops, we are dedicated to advancing the field and sharing our knowledge with the broader community.

In a world where the only constant is change, the strategic vision of Helen Kerr and Nigel Smith offers our clients a navigational compass, guiding them towards a future filled with possibilities and opportunities.

We collaborate with our clients, immersing ourselves in an understanding of their culture, context and their issues.

Frame the Domain
Current Context
Scan the Horizon
Envision the Future
Create Scenarios
Create Possible Solutions
Create Backcast
Test Ideas

© KerrSmith Design 2023

550 Queen St. East, Unit 335
Toronto, ON M5A 1V2