Strategic foresight is the ability of an organisation to constantly perceive, make sense of, and act upon different ideas of the future emerging in the present. Governments worldwide are using strategic foresight to get early warnings of oncoming disruptions, to build resilience and future-proof their plans, to reframe and enhance the effectiveness of their strategies, and to generate shared language and visions of success. Times of rapid change, unpredictable uncertainty, novelty, and ambiguity highlight the limitations of traditional forecast-based planning.
Foresight helps policy makers to challenge and overcome current assumptions about the future and prepare for a broader set of possibilities. This brief analyses the practice of foresight as a purposeful intervention, whose value can only be realised when built into decision-making processes where it is used. Ideas about the future have no intrinsic value. Anticipatory Innovation Governance is the way in which governments build strategic foresight into its uses. Strategic foresight is an indispensable capacity within anticipatory innovation, with a particular aim of spurring products, services, and process that are novel to the context, implemented, and value-shifting.
In the context of Our Public Service 2030, Ireland recognises the need to ensure that Ireland’s public service is future-fit to 2030 and beyond. Strategic foresight as defined in this brief is indispensable to this. OPS2030 will aim to reflect on what the world might look like in 2030, the challenges and opportunities the country may face, and the capabilities that are needed as a public service to effectively navigate this new world
Towards a Strategic Foresight System in Ireland
Published on 14 May 2021.