A study to determine whether Luxembourg organisations use weak signals, and to provide them with good practices on how to use them

Luxembourg, April 26th 2022 – The partnership between MindForest and Luxembourg School of Business has activated the second phase of their joint research project on Early Warning Signals (EWS): a nationwide study to question professionals and companies on their habits in dealing with EWS on a day-to-day basis. While the research team interviewed a panel of senior managers and representatives of well-known Luxembourg companies during the first phase (Q4 2021) of the research, anyone can take part in the second phase (Q1 2022) to participate by completing a questionnaire (in English).

As any adult knows, a magician cannot produce a rabbit unless it is already in (or very near to) his hat. In the same way, surprises in the business environment almost never emerge without a warning.

Wack (1985)

A strategic management advantage

The frequency of changes and the corresponding impacts on companies are constantly increasing. However, such issues do not emerge without warnings: weak signals can be used to anticipate opportunities, risks and/or threats. Therefore, it is pretty clear that weak signals are very important in the field of strategic management. For companies, it’s crucial to have the ability to proactively search for signals and leverage them to improve strategic and operational choices. Early detection of weak signals could lead to a premature understanding of an event which has the potential to jeopardise an organisation’s strategy or could bring the organisation to leverage new opportunities before other competitors.

Why this project?

It is with this in view, that MindForest and Luxembourg School of Business jointly created the EWS project at the end of 2021. As the first of its kind in Luxembourg, the Early Warning Signals (EWS) project aims to:

  • Understand whether and how companies collect weak signals from the ecosystem to defend current positions, detect opportunities and threats.
  • Assess to what extent companies analyse and use this information.
  • Identify business best practices and analyse them in the light of most recent management research.
  • Share knowledge and inform the Luxembourg business community to provide them with an outstanding competitive advantage.

A project to benefit all organisations in Luxembourg

The research team, after showing organisations how strategic “surprises” can be detected today, will ultimately work on developing guidelines to help companies understand the need to sense, seize and reconfigure Early Warning Signals (EWS) as a part of their daily business.

So, do you pay attention to signs that indicate that a change is ahead in your sector? Please tell us more, complete the survey and help us to gain a better understanding of how you plan your strategic decisions. (Please visit the EWS project website for more details)