Much of what can be observed is the future.


Future Thinking | Strategic Foresight: the centre for future studies

The Centre for Future Studies conducts future thinking workshops designed to assist organisations in developing future thinking skills and expertise in house.

1. What is future thinking?

This is an introductory half-day workshop on futures ideas, principles and methods.

It is designed for those who know nothing or little about futures work, and who want to find out more about how to use futures in their day-to-day work. The workshop provides an overview of the futures imperative, and how to integrate futures into everyday decision making.

2. Strategic foresight: What it is and how to do it

The ability of organisations to develop a strategic foresight capacity to identify, understand and respond to future uncertainties is a critical success factor for effective strategy. Strategic foresight is the ability to systematically explore the future to identify drivers of change and to consider potential outcomes to inform strategic decisions. Strategic thinking underpins the development of a strategic foresight capacity, and is the first step in the development of robust strategy.

This full day workshop provides participants with an overview of strategic thinking and an introduction to a number of futures tools to support that thinking. Participants will be introduced to environmental scanning, trend analysis and interpretation, and scenario thinking in an interactive and sequential process that provides practical experience of strategic thinking in action.

By the end of the workshop, participants will be able to recognise and understand:

  • The essential differences between strategic thinking, strategic decision making and strategic planning, and the different types of methods and logics appropriate at each stage
    The nature of strategic foresight and how to build a foresight capacity in an organisation
  • The ways in which futures tools can be used to enhance strategic thinking.

3. Horizon Scanning: What it is and how to do it

All organisations want and need to understand how to position themselves effectively for the future.

There is a sometimes overwhelming amount of information now available about what might happen in an organisation's future operating and competitive environments. How do you decide where to look, let alone know which trends are relevant and based on rigorous analysis, and which are more 'style without substance', and based on subjective speculation?

This workshop focuses on building an organisational environmental scanning system to enable organisations to identify the trends that you need to pay attention to now, those that you must monitor over time, and those that are not useful in terms of your strategy development.

This one day workshop discusses the undeniable rationale for a scanning system, how to establish an organisational scanning network, where to start looking for relevant information, what tools to use, and how to interpret and make sense of what you find. The final part of the workshop focuses on reporting and communicating what you find in ways that enhance organisational strategic thinking. By the end of the workshop, participants will have developed an action plan to develop an organisational scanning system.

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