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«CREATIVE STRATEGIC FORESIGHT WORKSHOP PLAYBOOK Prepared by Dr. Sandra Romenska, Research Associate with the Creating Academic Learning Futures (CALF) ...»

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Prepared by Dr. Sandra Romenska, Research Associate with the

Creating Academic Learning Futures (CALF) Project

Dr. Sandra Romenska CALF Project

sandra.romenska@seh.oxon.org http://twitter.com/#!/sandraromenska

This playbook is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 licence. Under the terms

of this licence you are permitted to copy, distribute, display and perform the work, and make derivative works. In all cases you must give Dr. Sandra Romenska and the CALF project credit.

Dr. Sandra Romenska CALF Project sandra.romenska@seh.oxon.org http://twitter.com/#!/sandraromenska PART 1 BACKGROUND “If we always do what we've always done, we will get what we've always got…” Adam Urbanski http://www.flickr.com/photos/bb_matt/306544780/ Dr. Sandra Romenska CALF Project sandra.romenska@seh.oxon.org http://twitter.com/#!/sandraromenska

1. Introduction This playbook is a resource, providing content, tools and facilitation techniques for running creative strategic foresight workshops. The concept of creative strategic foresight workshops was developed within the Creating Academic Learning Futures (CALF) project, led by Prof.

Gilly Salmon. The project was carried out over three years between 2008 and 2011 in partnership by University College Falmouth and the Beyond Distance Research Alliance of the University of Leicester. It was funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and managed by the Higher Education Academy (HEA).

CALF aimed to create, explore and present for discussion a variety of plausible „alternative futures‟ for learning and teaching in higher education. This was achieved by capturing emerging issues which may influence the future of student learning and by engaging student voices. The project developed a research model called Learning Futures, created by Prof.

Salmon. The model underpinned the design of collaborative workshops for the pro-active application of analytical and creative techniques for envisaging the future. In addition, an aspect of the CALF research activities was aligned with a university programme for increasing students’ employability. This proved to be a powerful motivator for students’ participation in the project.

During the workshops participants engage in hands-on exercises for imagining possible futures quickly and collaboratively. They discuss emerging visions for the future, technological innovations and their implications for the participants’ own practice, organisation or institutional context. The emphasis of the workshops is on increasing participants’ awareness of possible, probable and desirable futures, appreciation of the key forces influencing change and creating viable strategies for the achievement of personal or organisational goals.

More than 500 students, policy makers, learning designers, project managers and policy makers took part in creative strategic foresight workshops for the duration of the CALF project. The workshop design was converted into an open educational resource available for reuse and repurposing, enabling users to run their own workshops.

2. Who can benefit from this resource Learning how to run creative strategic foresight workshops is relevant to educators, students, managers, policy-makers and education and training professionals, whose work requires collaborative decision-making for the future through understanding and generating shared agendas. It will be valuable for individuals who need to develop new skills for analysing, presenting and negotiating future visions in education and training settings, public policy or project management. The creative strategic foresight workshops can be used as a model for collaborating with students in drafting organisational and institutional strategies as well as for increasing students’ employability.

Dr. Sandra Romenska CALF Project sandra.romenska@seh.oxon.org http://twitter.com/#!/sandraromenska

3. Rationale of the creative strategic workshops The workshops focus on developing the capacity of the participants to imagine and analyse the potential of the present and the past for the future. They identify opportunities to create,

rather than observe the future and achieve:

Increasing the visibility and transparency of strategy-making in the participants’ organisations by incorporating input from multiple stakeholders.

Increasing awareness of the problems, intended interventions, anticipated outcomes and expected impacts of future strategies and plans so that they are sufficiently well defined and meaningful to organisational members.

Clarifying participants’ ideas about the essential logic and the assumptions of future strategies and plans, linking strategic goals to possible interventions and then to results.

Generating strategic insight without prejudicing the autonomy of future organisational members to choose different options and adopt different values.

Increasing students’ employability in higher education contexts.


The workshops can:

Improve the capacity of groups of students and staff to imagine and assess the potential of decisions made now to create a future for their organisations by putting values into practice.

Clarify the set of cause-and-effect relationships perceived by participants to have an impact on their organisations, and provide the rationale for specific future interventions.

Identify possible resources, activities and outcomes of events in the broader context of their organisations and the causal assumptions connecting them to a desired future.

Identify skills, knowledge and perspectives perceived by staff and students as necessary to acquire in order to achieve the envisaged future and encourage ongoing self-reflection and dialogue in order to increase accountability for the achievement of individual development goals.

Dr. Sandra Romenska CALF Project sandra.romenska@seh.oxon.org http://twitter.com/#!/sandraromenska

5. Intended outcomes Users of this resource will learn how to run creative strategic foresight workshops for collaborative building of ideas for the future; accurately capturing feasibility requirements;

maintaining the richness of data by managing its complexity. They will be able to set up and

facilitate workshops which will deliver the following outcomes:

Participants will learn to use a range of innovative tools for collaborative foresight.

Participants will gain an awareness of possible, probable and desirable futures.

Participants will develop an appreciation of the key forces influencing change.

Participants will create alternative future scenarios for the participants’ own work roles, practices and context. The scenarios are web-based and will be accessible for after the end of the workshop for reusing and repurposing.

Future goals, problems, possible interventions, anticipated outcomes and desired impacts will be identified.

Strategic insights which are relevant and immediately useful to the participants and their organisation for their own planning and work.

6. Employability In addition, the activities of the creative strategic foresight workshops are designed to target the development of a range of employability skills for students. Participating students develop an awareness of and ability to utilise media creation tools and learning technologies in diverse environments. They learn to prioritise, plan and manage their work to achieve the intended results and gain experience in presenting themselves professionally, demonstrating creativity in their own and team work, as well as awareness of the real world limits to adopting innovations.

As part of the workshops students have to adapt to varied roles and responsibilities, and work effectively in online and face-to-face environments, in a climate of ambiguity and changing priorities. The web-based activities are aimed to develop the students’ ability to access information efficiently (time-management) and effectively (use of sources). The use of a range of web-based activities require students to evaluate information critically and competently, as well as to apply a fundamental understanding of the ethical and legal issues surrounding the access and use of information (especially OERs), learning technologies and media. Students develop the ability to apply a fundamental understanding of the ethical/legal issues surrounding the access and use of information, learning technologies and media participants’ area of work. Importantly, students develop visual design sense, along with prototyping skills on interactive learning platforms.

–  –  –

Below is a list of questions and topics that can be included in the creative strategic foresight workshops. The list can be used when designing the content of the workshops and during the analysis of the participants’ contributions.

Mission: what are the fundamental purpose and values of the entity that is the subject of the workshop (a person, an initiative, and organisation, a practice).

What objectives are consistent with the mission? Which targets need to be achieved in order to accomplish the mission?

What is the organisational environment? Trends? Competitors? Resources? Sudden change? Weak change signals?

–  –  –

Who are the opponents, constituents and allies with respect to the mission and objectives?

Which will be the critical success factors of the strategy?

Which performance indicators can measure the success of the strategy?

Dr. Sandra Romenska CALF Project sandra.romenska@seh.oxon.org http://twitter.com/#!/sandraromenska

7. Approach The foundation of the workshops is the Learning Futures model developed by the Creating Academic Learning Futures (CALF) research project of the Beyond Distance Research Alliance. The model consists of analysis of past information and experiences – Hindsight;

analysis of current issues – Insight; and analysis of a range of possible futures - Foresight.

The three components combine to produce Oversight, or a general understanding of the decisions that can be made in the present to create the best of the possible futures.

The Learning Futures approach aims to ensure that the new knowledge gained and interpreted by participants through the Insight, Hindsight and Foresight is shared, thus enabling their organisations to implement changes, make new decisions and take new actions.

The components of the module are presented in detail in the Resources section of this Playbook.

–  –  –

The next sections of the playbook describe the steps involved in organising and running a creative strategic workshop. The playbook focuses on the workshop activities, goals and desired outcomes. It also provides a guide to the resources (Powerpoint slides, instructional videos, journal articles, web tools) used in the workshops. All resources listed in the playbook are hyperlinked to locations on the web where they can be accessed or downloaded.

Facilitators can download Powerpoint slides provided here to build their own presentations along the Learning Futures structure described in this Playbook, use the activities listed in Part 3 of the Playbook and incorporate the Youtube videos in their workshops to explain key concepts and ideas of the Learning Futures model.

10. Structure of the workshops

The table below outlines the basic structure of the workshops with the four key components – Introduction, Practice, Group Work, Presentation and Discussion. The duration of each component in the table is corresponds to a 3-hour workshop – the minimum amount of time required for a creative strategic foresight workshop. Maintaining the proportion of time allocated to each component, the duration can be extended to fit half-day workshop, whole day and up to three-week long teaching module. The resources listed in the table can be tailored to the objectives of the workshop, the needs of the participants as well as their prior knowledge of collaborative web tools. The next page outlines a suggested map of using the resources accompanying the Playbook to build your own workshop.

–  –  –

Dr. Sandra Romenska CALF Project sandra.romenska@seh.oxon.org http://twitter.com/#!/sandraromenska

11. Video resources The CALF Project Youtube Channel offers videos which can be incorporated in the Creative Strategic Foresight workshops to present to participants the components of the Learning Futures model and to support their work on Hindsight, Insight and Foresight.


–  –  –

The first step in organising a creative strategic foresight workshop is making a decision about the problem that the workshop is intended to solve. Is the workshop intended as an instrument for involving organisational members in the creation of a future vision for their organisation?

Is it about eliciting ideas for changes in existing strategies and plans? Is the purpose of the workshop consulting students on their ideas, perceptions of existing practices or enhancing their employability? Is it a training workshop in strategy and foresight? This decision will influence the selection of participants and the content of the workshop.

Usually the workshops will be organised at the request of a course leader, a management team, member of an institution’s leadership team. Prior to the workshop together with the facilitators they need to formulate three to five questions that the workshop should find answers for.

Step One: “By the end of the workshop I want to know/find out…” To ensure that the questions that the workshop will tackle are realistic it is helpful to ask the organisers to expand each question with a statement about the reasons for choosing a particular question and how they will use the outcomes.

Step Two: “I want to know/find out …, because…” And Step Three: “Finding out/knowing… will help me to…” On the basis of the outcomes of Step One, Two and Three above the organisers and facilitators prepare a list with participants who will be best positioned to contribute to and

benefit from participation in the workshop. Possible alternatives to consider include:

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