Environmental scanning underpins futures focused strategy development, and is a critical step. Without high quality information to inform subsequent strategic thinking and planning work, strategy will be short term in nature and ultimately fail when it meets the future. The ability to scan effectively is therefore a critical skill in strategy development today.

The training programs outlined here are designed to provide a strong capability to allow people to deepen their understanding of change and to identify relevant strategic implications for their organisations.

Two levels of training are offered. The first is an introductory level training program designed for people who know little or nothing about environmental scanning. This program can be offered in half day or a full day format (the full day has a practice and review session included). The second is an advanced program, designed for people who are familiar with environmental scanning and use this approach already in their work.

Introduction to scanning

This training can be provided as a half or full day workshop. Content is the same for both workshops with the full day workshop including an afternoon session to provide time for hands-on scanning experience. This workshop assumes no prior knowledge of scanning.

Topics (both workshop options) • Rationale for a scanning system – why scanning matters and why it’s a core skill for everyone working in a changing environment • A framework for scanning – how to focus scanning so that the process is time and energy efficient • Getting started with scanning – what to look for, where to look, filtering the useful hits from the noise, recording scanning hits and basic categorisation • What to do with scanning results – what are the next steps once relevant information has been located

Optional Practical Session (full day workshop only) Using a focus identified by participants, we spend some time identifying a number of scanning hits as individuals or pairs. At the end of the practice period, participants review their experience of finding relevant hits, the challenges they can see in the process and compare hits across the group to see how to identify themes and trends. This optional session makes the theory of scanning real and provides participants with a stronger understanding of how to do scanning in practice.

Analysing Scanning Insights

Advanced training is designed for people who already have experience in ‘doing’ scanning, finding scanning information and reporting it within the organisation. This is a one day workshop and can be run in conjunction with Introductory Training.

Topics • Broadening the map: scanning domains beyond STEEP and PESTLE • Recognising and challenging cognitive biases in yourself and others • Analysis tools for interpreting scanning value by using foresight tools to stretch thinking beyond the status quo • Challenges with scanning in organisations and thinking about how to address them • Communicating and reporting findings within and beyond the organisation

This workshop is focused around key strategic questions facing the organisation and how to use scanning information to support strategy development. It is interactive with participants identifying both areas of strength in current scanning work as well as gaps and improvements that can be made.

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