Publication of Report: Towards a Strategic Foresight System in Ireland

Action 8: Build strategic planning capability

Published today (14 May): Towards a Strategic Foresight System in Ireland

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. This work is intended to inform the design of the next phase of Public Service Reform.

What is strategic foresight?

Strategic foresight is a “structured and systematic way of using ideas about the future to anticipate and better prepare for change. It is about exploring different plausible futures that could arise, and the opportunities and challenges they could present.” Strategic foresight concerns the ability of an organisation to perceive, make sense of and act upon different ideas of the future. The ideas generated through strategic foresight are used to inform better decisions about the future that require action today.

Strategic foresight can be 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.

Strengthening Policy Making and Foresight in the Irish Public Service

The OPS team will be working with the Department of An Taoiseach and the OECD, with the support of the European Commission Technical Support Instrument, to develop the project, ‘Strengthening Policy Making and Foresight in the Irish Public Service’. This work will be undertaken over a period of 18 months from September 2021.

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