Government of Ontario
The primary objective of our Foresight work for the Government of Ontario’s Economic Futures project was to foster organizational learning and guide decisionmaking through the structured investigation of alternative futures. To reach this goal, our foresight facilitators and analysts made use of a variety of methods to leverage evidence, expertise, interaction and creativity. Among the methods used were Horizon Scanning and Scenario Planning. We systematically explored the external environment to better understand the nature and pace of change affecting policy at the provincial level. This allowed for the identification of potential opportunities, challenges and likely future developments.
The team worked individually and collaboratively to scan across diverse news and information sources (public and private), looking for “weak signals” of discontinuous change. Through the analysis of the findings, patterns were detected which were critical in identifying the trends and drivers of change for the next step in the scenarios process.
From the analysis of the research findings, trends and drivers of change were collected, organized and prioritized. A deck of significant trends was compiled and impact analysis was conducted. This analysis was a forecast that examined the cause, nature, potential impact, likelihood and speed of arrival of emerging issues or change. Trend Impact Analysis looked at the envelope of possibilities that deviated from the expected norm. This information is being used for strategic planning, scenario planning and policy option analysis.
The first phase of the work developed a long-term vision of Ontario’s economy. The research was extensive and farreaching. We identified changes on the horizon and painted possible future scenarios to guide present day planning. To obtain the most comprehensive information we used a broad range of internal and external stakeholders. Over 250 people participated in this significant endeavour.
The purpose of this work was to increase capacity within Ontario Public Service for the development of innovative strategies, programs and policies that will guide and support a thriving Ontario economy over the next 10 to 20 years. The tools we developed, and the broad engagement we facilitated, touched hundreds of members of the OPS and external stakeholders, crossing ministerial boundaries and creating a foundation of common understanding.
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