Alternate PDF Version (7 pages, 65 KB): 2016-273-guide_scanningrt-eng.pdf
OBJECTIVE: TO SHARE WEAK SIGNALS AND BUILD ON THEM THROUGH DISCUSSION.
This is a simple exercise in which participants take turns sharing a weak signal they have identified and then receive comments from the group. The purpose of the discussion is to strengthen each weak signal by adding more information on the change (e.g. related weak signals) and identifying additional implications, including those arising through interaction with the weak signals and expertise of other participants. Depending on the number of participants (or number of weak signals per participant), a session can take between 60 and 120 minutes (e.g. budget approximately 3 minutes for presentation and 7 minutes for discussion per weak signal). This exercise can be conducted as a one-off but is particularly valuable if repeated over time (e.g. weekly, monthly, or quarterly) as a series of sessions. This will help develop scanning capacity, build a richer shared understanding of the future, and provide a foundation for further foresight work.
- 1 facilitator
- 5–25 participants
- 1 notetaker (optional)
- Projector/computer (optional)
- Meeting space large enough for number of participants.
1. General meeting instructions (if needed)
2. Criteria for a good weak signal (if needed)
|45-105 MIN||3. Weak signal roundtable (3 minute presentation, 7 minute discussion for each)|
|10 MIN||8. Reflect on and/or evaluate the exercise|
EST. TOTAL TIME: 60-120 minutes
BEFORE THE MEETING
Come see how it works!
- If you are planning to hold a scanning round table you may wish to first attend one of the weekly scanning round table sessions held at Horizons to see how it works. Contact Horizons for details on time and location. We also welcome participants via telephone, Skype or one of Horizons’ telepresence robots.
Provide training (if needed)
- If participants are new to scanning and foresight, you may wish to conduct an initial introductory training session on scanning for and identifying weak signals. Alternatively, you should at least review information on weak signals (as contained in the agenda below) at the beginning of the session.
Send an invitation with instructions and examples
- Your invitation to the session needs to request that each participant prepare a weak signal in advance. You can include a detailed description of weak signals (as contained in the agenda below) or describe them in general terms (e.g. “an idea that surprised you or challenged your assumptions about the future”).
- Examples of weak signals can be found on the Horizons website: www.horizons.gc.ca
- The suggested format for a weak signal is 150 words divided under two headings:
- What? What is the surprising and potentially disruptive change that has been observed? Include hyperlink(s) to the source of information on this change (e.g. news article).
- So What? If this change was to continue and grow, what are the potential significant and disruptive implications?
- Ideally, weak signals should be shared in advance with the facilitator (via e-mail) or with the whole group (by posting in a shared drive or wiki).
Prepare the room
- Each participant will need a chair, writing surface and ideally a view of each other (i.e. no second-row observers).
- Optional projector/computer for real-time note taking: Ideally, participants are asked to write up their weak signals (including hyperlinks to sources) in advance and either send them to the meeting facilitator or post them in a shared drive or wiki, etc. If this is done, each weak signal can be brought up on screen and edited in real-time during the discussion (e.g. by a designated note-taker) based on comments from other participants. The edited weak signals can then be shared with participants and others in the form of a newsletter following the meeting.
AFTER THE MEETING
- (Optional) Circulate the collected weak signals to participants or a broader audience. This step may require some additional editing, possibly including edits or clarifications from the original author.
- (Optional) Maintain a database of weak signals for participants or a broader audience.
- (Optional) Identify a key weak signal that should be explored further and assign someone to develop it into a one-page insight. An insight typically contains a plausible disruptive change and potential significant implications, supported by a few examples of the change (i.e. a few weak signals). Use this insight as the basis for a strategic dialogue on making policy resilient to this potential change.
|1. General meeting introductions (if needed) (5 minutes)
2. Criteria for a good weak signal (if needed) (1 minute)
3. Weak signal roundtable (45-105 minutes)
4. Reflect on and/or evaluate the exercise (10 minutes)