Innovation toolkit

A practical guide: introduction to horizon scanning in the public sector
Social innovation Business Innovation Public sector Australia
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Innovation toolkit 1.5 MB

Horizon scanning is a structured process designed to capture, make sense of and assess the importance of emerging issues, trends and developments in train – that are often not very obvious today – and that might significantly influence current policy, service delivery, and practice. This guide gives an in-depth introduction to the technique of horizon scanning and why and how it should be used.

Horizon scanning provides a sense of what is possible, of different futures and of different scenarios. It can help identify emerging trends and issues which might shape how you innovate or help you think about what you should be innovating for. It can help identify developments in other fields that you might be able to apply or bring to bear in your own area of work.

The very act of looking for weak signals in your environment and in your reading can help spur ideas. The practice of considering possible trends and seeing multiple interpretations by different people of those weak signals can help your thinking become more flexible and aid your ability to see multiple pathways for any one issue. Thinking about future scenarios and possible developments can help you ‘rehearse the future’, a useful skill for any public servant, let alone one seeking to innovate.

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