Foresight Methodology - The Communications Challenge

Foresight projects tackle complex challenges and engage a wide range of internal and external subject matter experts to generate plausible future scenarios which illuminate needed capabilities. Ongoing consultative work is required to articulate the findings and move through the continuum from foresight, to insight and through to action.

Foresight MethodologyAll too often, foresight projects fail to reach their full potential through lack of up-front planning for a full communications and outreach strategy. Beautiful reports, filled with transformative ideas, sit on shelves.

The Deliberation Network believes that a well-designed foresight process does not end with the event report. Building in a broader engagement and outreach function ensures that the value of the foresight exercise is more fully realized.

Throughout the process, a critical success factor is the communications function. Here's a look at some of the communications tools the Deliberation Network employs in support of Foresight projects.

Planning for Foresight

Thought-leader surveys

A well designed phone survey of project partners and subject matter thought leaders can ensure expectations are known and guide the project team towards a successful outcome.

Environment Scanning

Foresight methodology typically involves scoping out the trends, technologies and 'players' operating within a topic arena. Converting insights into usable charts and presentations is an important communications task.

Doing Foresight

Event Planning and Management

Bringing people together is an expensive proposition. Every effort must be made to ensure the stage is set to optimize the time spent together. This requires a combination of care in the program design and professional execution of supporting materials and event staging.

  • Planning: Getting the right mix of stimulus presentations, participant engagement opportunities and networking opportunities;
  • Skill & Knowledge: Moderators and facilitators should have familiarity with the foresight methodology, and be well versed in the objectives of the overall project and each event;
  • Staging: Room design, lighting, AV support and supporting backdrops all contribute to the impact of presentations and workshops;
  • Briefing & Staying "On Message": The Deliberation Network believes every symposium or conference should be supported by a “message map” that all team members and presenters will build in advance of the event to ensure the sequencing, event outcomes and take-away messages are clear and understood.

Scenario Vignettes

Scenario Vignettes

One of Foresight’s most powerful tools involves building multiple plausible futures that are derived from 'drivers' such as social trends, technological change, and demographics. Event participants often struggle to comprehend the complexities of scenarios in the time allocated in any given event. The Deliberation Network can bring these complex scenarios – or futures – to life though the use of short vignettes – employing professional actors working with carefully prepared scripts.

Questions That Matter

Every event, large or small, represents a significant investment in time, expertise and money. Even well-designed, interactive workshops, symposiums or conferences can miss opportunties to reap the full potential of the participants. The Deliberation Network works with organizers to identify "questions that matter" and find opportunities to canvass participants, harvesting their insights and reflections to the project team.

Communicating Results

A successful Foresight project is one that sets the stage for future collaboration among the project community. Once again, there is a crucial communications challenge. To stay engaged in a process there must be a ‘return on participation’. Effective communications are essential to the challenge — putting the insights and achievements of the project in view to the participants.

Event Reporting

Event proceedings need to be more than a chronology of events and an archive of presentations. There is a story to tell. The ability to tell that story starts with the quality of the recording function at the event. That is the building block that allows a report to truly capture the best thinking from the event.

Decks & Presentations

Fair to say the future can be a complicated picture. Foresight projects deal with complexity and possibilities. Generating presentation tools that facilitate understanding is the bridge that allows the insights from a Foresight project to cross the border from those inside the project to the much larger audience beyond.


It is the nature of foresight projects to reach out for needed expertise and broader perspective. An attractive, concise brochure is not a luxury, but a building block for future partnerships.