Strategy is about the future, but most information used to inform strategic decision making is derived from the past and the present, or by extrapolating out current trends - and the usefulness of that form of forecasting is only the short term future. Futures approaches and methods allow universities and organisations to systematically explore their potential futures over a longer time period, and to begin to understand how external imperatives and challenges may play out for them over time – and hence, to produce strategies that are relevant and robust for longer periods of time.
The aim is to consider what might happen before strategic decisions are taken, so that a university or organisation can be better prepared for the inevitable rapid changes in its operating environment.
The future is characterised by uncertainty and complexity and there are no crystal balls that work. Organisations that carve out time to explore that uncertainty by integrating futures approaches into their strategy development processes will build more robust strategy. They will be better prepared to deal with any challenges they might face. After all, the aim is not to predict the future, but to avoid getting it wrong.
To find out more, explore the following pages.
Rethinking Strategic Planning: if you are interested in futures and strategy, start here. This section provides a way of thinking about the ‘planning’ process that will allow you to work out where and how futures work ‘fits’ into your processes.
Using Futures Approaches: how to get started with futures approaches.
The Value of Futures Approaches: some thoughts about what you might get out of using futures approaches.
Long Range Planning, an interesting collection of articles, some directly futures related, others more general in nature.
Strategy and Leadership, covers both general and futures related topics, as well as values related papers.
Strategic Planning Society, which “fosters and promotes best practice in strategic thought and action”.