Futures, foresight and horizon scanning

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Futures, foresight and horizon scanning

Foresight strategies, tools and techniques to anticipate future scenarios.

The course is available in English

A recent staff development needs analysis has shown that there is an interest in gaining more in-depth insights in topics closely related to project cycle management (PCM). The need is connected to areas such as effective project implementation, monitoring and evaluation of projects and programmes, effective programming for staff in field and writing successful proposals. Most of staff have been introduced to the traditional field of PCM which opens now the opportunity to dive into some innovative approaches applied on specific PCM related challenges.

This tailor-made course is available upon request and may be customized for local, national, and international organizations. Contact us to learn more.

Who attends this course?

The foresight lab is for anyone who is confronted with a complex challenge and would like to take a step back and look at the bigger picture of change to address their challenge in a better informed, future-inspired and integrative way. Furthermore, foresight tools and methods are useful for any professional whose work requires collaborative decision making for the future through the understanding and generating of shared agenda’s.


"If we always do what we have always done, we will get what we’ve always got" 

- Adam Urbanski 

Changes in our project and organizational environment (e.g. rising complexity, … ) already challenge our existing PCM-related approaches. Rather than redesign today’s practices based upon yesterday’s or at best today’s insights, it might be more valuable to take into account how potential changes in organizational and operational context might surface new needs and consequently inspire more future-proof practices and tools. Strategic foresight aims to raise awareness and enhance insight regarding such future changes through a variety of methods and tools. In a two-day heads-in and hands-on workshop we would like to familiarise you with some of these foresight approaches and the value they can bring to our organisation and your personal working context.

Strategic Foresight

to put ‘strategic foresight’ as an entry-point to effective strategic planning, moving away from traditional linear problem solving approaches. Strategic foresight is a systematic way to envision and examine alternative and potential futures. Participants will have the chance to formulate and frame challenges they are currently facing which can no longer be solved by solutions that may have worked in the past.

When we address a specifi c challenge in the different domains we work (planning, mobilizing resources, monitoring and evaluation) we need to consider the internal/external environment from different perspectives and think systematically about potential future changes. They lead us to explore different, potential future scenarios. The application of foresight with respect to these challenges is not based upon outside-the-box creative thinking but will be systematic, rigorous and evidence based.

Foresight Lab

The foresight lab will support participants with a solid set of qualitative foresight tools and methods. They will engage in hands-on exercises for imagining possible futures as a lens through which to look current and new challenges in a fast and collaborative way. An adaptive and participatory approach can accelerate better outcomes in complex environments. Through these foresight conversations participants become aware of the potential of plausible, probable or alternative directions their ‘reality’ might take and explore how they might influence organisational change and contribute to the creation of strategies and planning that pave the way for desired change. Furthermore foresight enhances our capacity to imagine, understand and communicate about potential future challenges and anticipatory action with others throughout and beyond the organisation and develop a collective ability to anticipate and adapt.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this learning and knowledge sharing experience ILO staff and constituents will be able to:

  • define and understand what strategic foresight analysis is about
  • gain an awareness of possible, probable and desirable futures in relation to self-identified challenges
  • use a range of innovative methods and tools for collaborative foresight
  • understand and be able to make use of the value of strategic foresight to enhance decision making and promote a culture of forward thinking in the world of work
  • understand how to create + utilize alternative futures scenario’s for own work purposes, roles, practices and contexts.

The foresight methodology will be applied to areas of interest that were identified throughout the needs analysis (e.g. effective project implementation, monitoring and evaluation of projects and programmes, effective programming for staff in field, writing successful proposals).

Methodology and learning approach

The training will consist in a two day face-to-face foresight lab. To finetune the needs of the participants and the design of the programme a preliminary needs analysis will be conducted through an online survey. A short introductory screencast will be sent to the participants with some preparatory tasks.
The foresight lab will be supported by training and learning material (articles, links, multimedia) and tools that will be made available to each participant via a link/on a USB key. Participants will compose their individual ‘Foresight toolbox’ to ensure the applicability of their learning and the achievement of concrete results.

The foresight process illustrated:

The foresight process illustrated


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