How do we create the big picture in which our core question or issue is embedded? How do we identify constants and variables? How do we talk about change in the world on a macro scale? How do we filter and select things that are important to a possible future scenario? These and other questions informed our inquiry into existing horizon scanning (aka environmental scannning) tools and processes. We collected some interesting examples below:

Almost all foresight work starts with or involves Horizon Scanning. ‘Horizon, or Environmental, Scanning is the art of systematically exploring the external environment to (1) better understand the nature and pace of change in that environment, and (2) identify potential opportunities, challenges, and likely future developments“

Environmental scanning is a task of discovery. Good scanners do all kinds of things to look for clues about how the world is changing: read news, blogs, and listservs, watch TV and YouTube, travel, talk to people, visit factories, go to stores, attend events, and so on. Scanners work to discover leads, ideas, thought triggers, data suggesting a trend, and so on. Then they join with colleagues to talk about what they have found and what it means.

Thirteen rules for scanning (by D. Jarvis):

  • The future is already here, you need to find it
  • Look for clues, not comprehensive evidence
  • Go deep, explore, focus broadly
  • Do not ignore evidence to the contrary, have an open mind
  • Take a global perspective
  • Look for the novel, unfamiliar and uninteresting
  • Look for interactions and combinations
  • Study history to understand the context
  • Make scanning an ongoing, integrated activity
  • Make scanning a shared, social process
  • Identify credible sources
  • Scanning should be relevant (to the organisation)
  • Get out from behind the computer - the future isn’t online:
    • “The future is not yet written down, it is concentrated in people and places - find and engage with remarkable people
    • Learning journeys (seek out and learn from innovators and thinkers, have immersive experiences (“Finding the future: Why “learning Journeys Give and Adaptive Edge” Nicole-Anne Boyer)

Existing scanning frameworks:

  • STEEP(VD): Social, Technological, Environmental, Economic, Political, (Values), (Demographic)
  • DEGEST: Demography, Environment, Government, Economy, Society, Technology
  • PEST(LE): Political, Economic, Societal, Technological, (Legal), (Environmental)
  • FAFA (an integral futures method:
    • Find: where and how to look for scanning hits
    • Analyse: use cross-level analysis (as well as causal-layered analysis) to expand the interpretation of the resulting scanning hits
    • Frame: create a framework for organising insights from the scanning hits
    • Apply: use the insights to inform the subsequent phases of the project

Phases of environmental scanning:

  • Framing (understanding the need)
  • Planning (sources and methods)
  • Executing (monitor sources, perform searches…)
  • Sense making (determine the relevance and implications)
  • Adapting (review and adjust the system)

Keep a scanning journal: title, source, summary, category (STEEP), creating/confirming/countering (and why), impact and relevance

From Overview of environmental scanning by D. Jarvis

  • future_fabulators/horizon_scanning.txt
  • Last modified: 2014-03-04 07:08
  • by maja