Action 8: Build strategic planning capability

Find report here: Towards a Strategic Foresight System in Ireland

Strategic foresight is the ability of an organisation to make sense, and act upon, different ideas of the future emerging into the present. Strategic foresight is used to strengthen policy–making in the following ways:

  • Identify the early signs of oncoming disruptive change
  • Reframe and broaden the scope of what is considered relevant in policy making
  • Stress test plans and strategies against potential disruptions

The OPS team has been working with the OECD to consider how strategic foresight could be used to reflect on what the world might look like in 2030, the challenges and opportunities to be faced and to consider the capabilities that are needed as a public service to effectively navigate this new world.

Ireland will be working with the OECD, with the support of the European Commission Technical Support Initiative, to develop a project to ‘Strengthen Policy Making and Foresight in the Irish Public Service’. This work will be undertaken over a period of 18 months from September 2021. If you have any queries, please contact


Strategic planning requires structures and resources to be aligned with strategic goals so that the public service is positioned to respond to external challenges. This form of planning produces ‘living’ plans, capable of adjusting and changing to meet changing needs and circumstances. Effective strategic planning in the public service will allow the public service to identify challenges and the actions needed to address them. It will also enable the identification and tackling of barriers to successful implementation. Existing sectoral strategic plans such as the annual National Risk Assessment, Innovation 2020 and Enterprise 2025, as well as more long-term strategies such as the White Paper on Defence, the National Planning Framework (Ireland 2040) and The Global Island: Ireland’s Foreign Policy for a Changing World, already identify a number of key areas.

See fully expanded description of this action on P.25 of Our Public Service.

While this action was not selected as a specific action for 2018/2019, the core values are being progressed as part of other actions in Our Public Service 2020, including:


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