Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Centre for Workforce intelligence - horizon scanning, scenario and modelling tools 

the CfWI has lots of material on its site: http://www.cfwi.org.uk/
its methodology brochure and tools are here: http://www.cfwi.org.uk/news/cfwi-publishes-new-interactive-methodology-brochure

and its detailed technical accounts are here: http://www.cfwi.org.uk/our-work/research-development/cfwi-technical-paper-series

The following quotes from the last link cited:

The R&D team shares its knowledge of best practice through an ongoing series of technical papers which focus on a variety of areas of workforce planning. This series of papers is also used to share new approaches that the R&D team has developed and may potentially include papers commissioned from external organisations and experts on topics of particular interest in the future.
Robust workforce planning framework: An introduction
The health and social care system is complex. It is made up of many organisations and professions, and different parts of the system respond to change in different ways. The environment that the system has to operate in is uncertain. In this context, planning the right workforce for the future is challenging. The risks of not planning effectively are huge: lives can be put in jeopardy, morbidity may increase and huge sums of money wasted.
This paper introduces a new method developed by the CfWI called robust workforce planning (RWP). We think first about what health and social care may look like in the future, and create a set of scenarios to capture the inherent uncertainty. We then focus on policies to deliver the required workforce, and test them against these scenarios. This allows us to select the policy that is the most robust against unexpected change.
Here we present the framework for RWP and explain the key steps in the process. Guidance is given on how the framework might be used in practice, based on learning from recent projects. We show how horizon scanning and scenario generation can be used to produce plausible but challenging futures, and how these may be quantified for modelling.This approach is new for health and social care workforce planning in England, and provides policymakers with a new way of thinking about the future, testing prospective policies and avoiding unexpected consequences.
Robust workforce planning: Experiences and best practice
Rather than attempt to predict the future, RWP recognises the intrinsic uncertainty and complexity of factors influencing workforce demand and supply. Decisions made about workforce requirements need to work well across a range of futures in order to be robust against uncertainty. By analysing the key issues and uncertainties, we generate a set of plausible and highly challenging scenarios.
Workforce demand and supply is then forecast for each scenario to understand how workforce numbers or skills might change over time. Prospective policies can be tested against these scenarios to see which one is the most effective. This paper describes key learning points in applying the framework across a number of projects.

Robust workforce planning: Medical model technical description
This paper describes the model used to quantify the future supply and demand of doctors. The model was developed as part of project for the UK Department of Health (DH) to inform a Health and Education National Strategic Exchange (HENSE) review of the intake to medical and dental school. The purpose of the work was to provide intelligence to inform recommendations of the HENSE review group on future student intakes to medical and dental schools looking forward to 2040.
Due to the complexity of the model scope and scale it was decided that the system dynamics approach was best suited to meeting the modelling requirements. System dynamics is a simulation method that enables the behaviour of complex systems over time to be understood and simulated. System dynamics models represents changes to a system over time by using the analogy of system flows accumulating and depleting over time in stocks. Historically, the CfWI has developed Excel-based models to represent these complex systems.
The system dynamics approach meant that robust, evidence-based supply and demand models could be created to test potential policies and their impact. It also meant the model was “transparent” and enabled expertise of several hundred stakeholders from the healthcare system to be synthesised. As a result of these benefits, the system dynamics approach is considered fundamental to the CfWI’s ongoing workforce modelling strategy. The approach is being used by the CfWI to develop additional supply and demand models for other workforces across the health and social care systems, including nursing, midwifery, pharmacy and a range of medical specialties.
Literature review guidelines
The CfWI informs health and social care planners, clinicians and commissioners seeking workforce planning and development expertise to improve health and social care services. With the aim of supporting long-term and strategic scenario planning for the whole health and social care workforce, the CfWI relies on research, evidence and analysis to build strong leadership and capability in workforce planning.
 There are three key areas on which the CfWI focuses: leadership, workforce intelligence, and, last, the support and resources to improve the effectiveness of workforce planning.
The purpose of this summary on writing literature reviews in this field is to support analysts delivering research and workforce intelligence in the field of health and social care. It is a brief synthesis of the extensive literature on how to conduct a literature review. Highlighted are the elements to consider when undertaking a literature review for an organisation such as the CfWI. The overall process of a research project includes research question formulation, literature search, data evaluation, analysis and interpretation.
Horizon scanning: Analysis of key forces and factors
This technical paper addresses improvements to the horizon scanning stage of the CfWI RWP framework around the use of systems thinking to understand the system under investigation.The CfWI uses horizon scanning (the exploration of possible futures) to investigate likely future developments that may occur within the health and social care system and impact on workforce supply and demand.
Horizon scanning is part of wider range of activities concerned with a systemic and systematic analysis of the system under investigation, and its past, present and future. It is important that the horizon scanning process integrates with this approach, and in particular with the scenario generation stage of the framework. Improvements may be needed to how horizon scanning ideas or issues are analysed to determine the key factors of interest in the system, and to the horizon scanning website or ‘hub’ (www.horizonscanning.org.uk) that is used to capture them.
A consistent set of definitions has been produced and tested. It is presented in this paper. The review of the hub confirms the utility of a web-based approach for collecting data about the system under investigation.Detailed analysis of hub data has identified areas where improvements can be made. Causal loop diagrams have proved a simple and effective method for mapping the system and highlighting areas of interest. They are a promising basis for the analysis of system factors.
Developing robust system-dynamics-based workforce models: A best-practice approach
Central to the RWP framework are workforce models developed using the system dynamics (SD) method that calculate workforce supply and demand. System dynamics modelling is used since it is most appropriate for complex systems with feedback, such as health and social care workforce planning.
This technical paper describes the formal approach adopted by the CfWI for the development of workforce based system dynamics models. The benefits of having a formalised approach to workforce model development include models that are better designed, easier to use, more focussed and more efficient. Applying a rigorous formal approach also results in increased stakeholder confidence in model outputs.
The approach is composed of four steps: model scoping, model construction, model documentation and model testing. Each stage is described in detail in this report and supported by best practice guidance.
Scenario generation: Enhancing scenario generation and quantification
This technical paper addresses improvements to the scenario generation stage and includes the following:
  • a short review of the history of scenarios and scenario planning, the different types of scenario and methods for generating them
  • a formal approach for creating a set of scenarios to present alternative, plausible and challenging visions of the future to inform workforce planning and generating scenarios at different levels of scale, where higher-level scenarios frame scenarios at a lower level of detail, enhancing the coherence of the overall set
  • a best-practice method for checking the consistency of scenarios, so that only consistent ones are taken forward for quantification and modelling, eliciting uncertain scenario parameters (all scenarios contain parameters that are inherently unknowable but where values need to be defined for modelling and simulation; this requires input from experts using a formal and defined protocol)
  • substantive improvements to the scenario generation process as a result of the above, and areas for future research.
Policy analysis: Applying robust decision-making to the workforce planning framework
Policy analysis is a thread that runs throughout the Centre for Workforce Intelligence (CfWI) robust workforce planning framework, from the horizon scanning phase through to scenario generation and workforce modelling. The literature review in this technical paper provides an introduction to the subject of long-term policy analysis and its specific NHS workforce planning context in the UK, allowing the reader to clearly see the links between the CfWI’s methodology and the wider robust decision-making process.
In the CfWI’s robust workforce planning methodology, the engagement of subject matter experts and their continual consultation throughout rigorous horizon scanning and scenario generation phases allows the CfWI to have confidence in the models developed during the later workforce modelling phase. Research and output validation further underpin the value of the policy analysis results these exercises deliver. This process has enabled the CfWI to execute a number of successful workforce policy studies. This technical paper explores how additional focus on retrospective policy testing and the adoption of a wider range of scenarios could add further value to the CfWI’s workforce planning research.

Robust workforce planning framework: Update from practice
The Centre for Workforce Intelligence robust workforce planning framework has existed largely unchanged for more than two years. This is perhaps a testament to its simplicity and ease of understanding. Over 20 reviews of health and social care professions have used the framework. Recent technical papers have reviewed and recommended improvements to the core stages – horizon scanning, scenario generation, workforce modelling and policy analysis – in some depth.
This paper reviews the latest development and provides a revision to the framework. The structure is unchanged but each stage now reflects practical experiences from projects, and key findings from our research and technical papers.

Elicitation methods: Applying elicitation methods to robust workforce planning
The CfWI use expert elicitation as part of our robust workforce planning framework, which we use in all workforce reviews. The purpose is to provide workforce planners with an understanding of how the future might evolve for health, public health and/or social care professions. It can also be used for groups of professions. This includes simulation of future supply and demand, in terms of workforce numbers and skills. It also includes an assessment of the effectiveness of different policy options, for example, increasing the intake to training, altering working patterns, or influencing the drivers of demand. This paper explores our elicitation methods in more detail.

Policy analysis update
Policy analysis is the thread that runs through the CfWI’s Robust Workforce Planning Framework. The purpose is to determine which of a set of alternative policies will best meet a specific set of goals.This requires determining which policy is the most effective, according to the measures used, against a set of plausible but challenging future scenarios. Some workforce policies may perform well across all these futures; we would then say that they are robust against future uncertainty. However, other policies may not perform as a well. Specific scenarios may be challenging and the outcome may not be good. Decision-makers will then need to judge which policy to choose in situations where several policies perform adequately, but no single policy is outstanding.
This paper includes the following:
  • an updated review of the literature with particular focus on the importance of evidence in policy making and approaches to policy analysis
  • selecting policies for analysis, including the conceptual steps to take
  • structuring the analysis and the principles for a CfWI policy analysis tool
View/Download this paper at http://www.cfwi.org.uk/publications/policy-analysis-update.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

new study of corporate foresight 

The impact of corporate foresight on strategic decisions – a case of a European bank

Gómez Portaleoni, Claudio (2011)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.


In increasingly competitive, complex and volatile environments, the urge to fully understand the future and to thereby deduce insights for strategic processes has - over the past decades - always been of great interest to academics and practitioners. ... The following thesis ... scrutinises corporate foresight and its impact on strategic decisions in order to investigate how managers, organisations and the environment influence the phenomenon and its manifestations. ...The research data is collected via formal and informal interviews, document analyses and observations within a European bank consisting of multiple business units and segments. ... corporate foresight manifests itself in numerous forms and locations. .... manifold influences from both the internal and external environment affect corporate foresight and its impact on strategic decisions.... the integration of corporate foresight into strategic decisions is not only specified by the phenomenon's manifestation, but also by strategic decision-makers' judgements regarding corporate foresight itself


Future of Cities 

Despite lack of overall framework, lots of valuable material is appearing at

We live in a world that is rapidly urbanising and reurbanising. In the next 50 years, populations will grow, and the number of people in UK cities is predicted to increase. The UK has both an attractive environment for growth, and a large number of cities that want to take advantage of this potential for growth.
For this growth to be sustainable and to benefit all, we need to consider a number of themes, including leadership, finance, and liveability. The project will consider these issues, providing evidence to help policy makers ensure that UK cites are:
  • well led and managed, providing the best services, quality of life, economies and jobs
  • attractive, ensuring that UK cities have a reputation as great places to live, work and play
  • smart, clean and green, so that growth and development occurs in ways that will protect the environment and improve health and wellbeing for everyone
This project is identifying the opportunities and challenges UK cities will face in the future, which cities need to embrace in order to be resilient, adaptable and thrive.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

UK Horizon Scanning updates (December 2014 publication - rather well-hidden) 

Horizon scanning research papers

These research papers explore how a particular issue might affect different areas of policy.
The papers are produced by the Horizon Scanning Programme Team.


  1. Emerging economies: demographic change

    • 18 December 2014
    • Research and analysis
  2. Emerging technologies: big data

    • 18 December 2014
    • Research and analysis
  3. Resource nationalism

    • 18 December 2014
    • Research and analysis
  4. Social attitudes of young people

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Strategic Prospectives, Strategic Foresight, Foresight 

Strategic  Foresight for Corporate and Regional Development is the English version of the recently revised and enhanced French edition of La prospective stratégique pour les entreprises et les territoires by Michel Godet and Philippe Durance


Language Title Contents Full Text
English Strategic Foresight
Strategic Foresight
Portuguese A prospectiva estratégica
A prospectiva estratégica
Chinese 战略展望学
Arab الاستشراف الاستراتيجي للمؤسسات والأقاليم
الاستشراف الاستراتيجي للمؤسسات والأقاليم
German Strategische Vorausschau
Strategische Vorausschau
Spaniard La prospectiva estratégica
La prospectiva estratégica

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

UK Foresight - Good night? 

I have written on the Global Foresight group's page on LinkedIn:

The UK Foresight Programme was reported to be seen internationally as a "gold standard" for large-scale institutional foresight work.So what does its current website say about how it is now valued?

In 2010 I concluded an essay in TFSC - http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2010.07.016 - by commenting:
"Even in the UK, whose TFP (Technology Foresigfht Programme) survived changes in government since the mid-1990s, views articulated in TF work can become political footballs. Specific scenarios or policy suggestions may be portrayed by opponents of the current administration as proving its pernicious intentions. With a new administration preparing major cuts in public expenditure, Foresight may well be vulnerable. The long view is often sacrificed in the face of immediate problems, and several important TF and technology assessment programmes have been destroyed elsewhere by partisan politics. The UK programme has had a major impact on the future orientation of several parts of the UK political system, as well as significantly influencing TFPs elsewhere [7]. It remains to be seen whether the UK programme is sufficiently well-embedded to maintain its current scale and effectiveness. ..."
At the time of writing those words, there were still several projects underway, with systematic methodology, and well documented on www.foresight.gov.uk. (The evolution of this page can be inspected at the wayback machine at www.archive.org) . But today, that webpage has disappeared, and I invite you to inspect what remains, and decide whether my fears were justified.

then I added these comments:

Saturday, November 08, 2014

DEFRA Horizon Scanning 

While trying to figure out just what has happened to Foresight and Horizon Scanning in the UK, which will be covered more in a future post, I revisited useful material posted by DEFRA a few years ago:

Many of the links are broken, but these work (for now):

at http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20071022164356/http://horizonscanning.defra.gov.uk/default.aspx?menu=menu&module=Resources

Baseline Scan
The primary purpose of the baseline scanning project was to provide an evidence base of the key external trends, driving forces, emerging issues and potential 'wildcards' (low probability, high impact events) which could have the greatest impact on Defra's external environment.

Note: not all of the appendices are available via this site due to their considerable size. If you would like a copy, please contact the horizon scanning and futures team.
Green Arrow    Baseline Scan Final Report 
Green Arrow    Baseline Scan Final Report Appendices 
Please follow the link below to a glossary of common horizon scanning and futures terms. If there are any we haven't included that you would like more information on, please do let us know!
Green Arrow    Glossary

at http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20071022164356/http://horizonscanning.defra.gov.uk/default.aspx?menu=menu&module=Home

Outputs from lessons learned review now uploaded!

In 2006, the Horizon Scanning and Futures programme entered a year-long period of review and consolidation and commissioned Sparknow, a pioneer in the use of narrative techniques to capture knowledge, to help it review the work thus far and draw out the lessons to belearned.

Through a series of events, interviews, discussions and exercises we've gathered countless experiences and insights that tell us how the programme has been run in the past and how our 'critical friends' think it should be run in the future.

The lessons we've found are presented in these essays, each of which is a frank and readable summary of our findings on a core 'sticky' question identified by our stakeholders. 
Duck 3
Wrapped around the essays, the folder itself also functions as a wallchart, overview and planning tool. It lays out the project ifecycle and places on it the collected advice and hard-won experience of the people who carried out Defra's early futures projects.
Green Arrow    Project Lifecycle 
Defra Definition of Horizon Scanning (2002)
“The systematic examination of potential threats, opportunities and likely future developments
which are at the margins of current thinking and planning. Horizon scanning may explore novel and unexpected issues, as well as persistent problems or trends. Overall, horizon scanning is intended to improve the robustness of Defra’s policies and evidence base.”

"The horizon scanning team is a window onto the wider world, it interacts with industry, with the universities and research institutions, and it feeds into the policy divisions by bringing policy people into contact with the people who can help them" - Professor Sir Howard Dalton FRS 
Why think about the future?
 We can either stumble into the future and hope it turns out alright or we can try and shape it. To shape it, the first step is to work out what it might look like” - Stephen Ladyman MP, January 2006 
 Uncertainty creates winners and losers. Organisations that want to survive have to adapt” - Kees van der Heijden,Professor of General and Strategic Management at the Graduate Business School of Strathclyde University, Glasgow 
 It is not the strongest of the species who survive, nor the most intelligent; rather it is those most responsive to change” - Charles Darwin

"I've done rocket science. I can tell you. Scenario planning is not rocket science" - Peter Schwartz, Co-founder and chairman of the Global Business Network 

Another Foresight Handbook 

This has plenty of useful material in it!

Title: Practical Foresight Guide
Author: Dr Michael Jackson (2013)
Publisher: Shaping Tomorrow (Creative Commons License)
Summary: This encyclopaedic handbook provides commercial, not-for-profit, academia, government organizations and future-interested people with the concepts and practical approaches to develop systematic, collaborative foresight capabilities with limited external help and at low cost.
  • Chapter 1 – Foresight
  • Chapter 2 – Thinking
  • Chapter 3 – Methods
  • Chapter 4 – Scanning
  • Chapter 5 – Planning
  • Chapter 6 – Acting
  • Chapter 7 – Networking
  • Chapter 8 – Change
  • Chapter 9 – Your Future
  • Chapter 10 – Recommended Reading
  • Chapter 11 – Foresight Glossary 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Free online book! Towards Strategic Intelligence – Foresight, Intelligence, and Policy-Making 

Towards Strategic Intelligence
– Foresight, Intelligence, and Policy-Making
Author: Tuomo Kuosa 
at http://www.jfs.tku.edu.tw/12-2/111-120.pdf
"This book is part of my long-term study on how foresight could better provide policy-
makers with the knowledge they need to make the right decisions. My two earlier books
on the theme,
Practicing Strategic Foresight in Government: Cases of Finland, Singapore
and European Union
The Evolution of Strategic Foresight – Navigating Public Policy Making
 are strongly based on versatile country-specific summaries. They also base on
different practitioners’ and policy-makers’ views on the topic, including e.g. interviews
with the former deputy head of Mossad, the vice-chair of the Finnish Parliament’s Com
mittee for the Future, and the deputy director of Singapore’s National Security Coordination Centre (NSCC).
The idea behind this book originates from a discussion with Dr. Matti Saarelainen, Head
of Unit at The Finnish Security Intelligence Service (SUPO), who at the time was the chair
of the Global Futures Forum...."
 "This book explores opportunities to enhance strategic intelligence capabilities especially in public policy-making. In most countries and organisations, strategic intelligence does not function as described above. Yet that is how it should function in principle. Keeping intelligence, strategic foresight, and visionary management in separatesilos undermines the policy-makers’ strategic capabilities."

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