Strategic Futures Planning: A Guide for Public Sector Organisations

Books or book chapters
September 2007
Ben Ramalingam and Harry Jones

Ark Group's Strategic Futures Planning report aims to provide managers, planners and strategists in public sector organisations with more information about futures planning efforts, why they are useful, and what needs to be considered in putting together a futures initiative.

Including practical examples from a range of efforts, this new in-depth report covers:

  • The origins where strategic futures work came from,
  • Why it is important,
  • How to do it,
  • The useful methods that could be considered.

Strategic Futures Planning incorporates research on the different strategic futures tools and methodologies, using powerful examples from the UK government’s Foresight Unit to clarify what tools are most appropriate for the different kinds of projects you are undertaking.

A range of ways in which futures tools might be selected are provided, ranging from the hoped-for outcomes, the kinds of analysis that would be most credible and useful, and the kinds of thinking processes that would be most appropriate.

The report presents information about the common problems faced by organisations trying to implement futures projects, and provides useful tips and tricks on issues such as:

  • Where to position futures groups within organisations,
  • The appropriate timeframe to look into the future,
  • How to broaden ownership of futures projects.

In-depth case studies on the use of futures planning in leading public sector bodies and organisations are included and cover methods such as scenario planning and trend analysis on different issues. They include futures initiatives that are wide-ranging, including an update to the infamous Limits to Growth study, to more specific initiatives such as the UK Climate Change Impacts programme.

Specific case studies are drawn from the following organisations: the Club of Rome think tank; the South African Mont Fleur process; the UK Cabinet Office; Scottish Futures Forum; the European Commission’s Forward Studies Unit; the UK's Local Government Association, the UK Climate Impacts Programme in DEFRA, and the Foresight programme managed by the Office of Science and Technology.