Most people associate Foresight with Scenario Planning. South Africa has a long history of developing high quality scenarios, just think about the High Road-Low Road scenarios (1980s), Mont Fleur scenarios (1992), Dinokeng (2009) and most recently the Indlulamithi scenarios (2018).

Scenarios is however just the “anchor” of a much more extensive and participatory process that should be tailor-made depending of the reason for doing foresight.

In general, Foresight can be used for different purposes:

Strategic Foresight

Traditional – usually focus on possible future trends and developments of one crucial driver, such as The Future of Technological Development for example and developed detailed recommendations [are made] for policy makers.

Participatory Foresight

Participatory Foresight is based upon the original ideological but progressively practical argument that whoever has a stake and a role in the realisation of a particular future, is also entitled and required to have a say in how that future should look like.

Revolutionary Foresight

Revolutionary Foresight is an extension of the practical application of Participatory Foresight and aims to address the behavioural and political aspects of change. The ‘future’ is less contentious than the past [thus] allowing for current controversies to be addressed in hypothetical, solution-oriented terms.

Transformative Foresight

Transformative Foresight is about challenging the received wisdom about how the future will develop (the ‘used future’), imagining and creating an alternative but equally valid future and thereby regaining agency over one’s own future.

Leading up to crafting a scenario, and dealing with the “so what” after a scenario has been developed, a large and extensive toolbox can be opened.  On this page we will reflect on the practical application of these. We will discuss horizon scanning, causal and trend analysis, wind tunneling, Delphi, wild cards such as black swans, and many more.

So regularly come back to this page for a jargon-free (we will try our best) discussion of each.