e-Horizons newsletter - June 2015
Export Development Canada: Introduction to Foresight Workshop
On April 30, 2015, Horizons met with the Risk Assessment team at Export Development Canada. This team has been mandated to provide a more forward-looking assessment on the projects that EDC is considering. During this 90 minute session, Horizons Chief Futurist, Peter Padbury, provided an overview of the foresight method and the group identified tools that would be of use to their process.
Scanning Workshop at Natural Resources Canada
On March 30, 2015, Horizons worked with Future of Asia participants from Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), to co-facilitate a half-day scanning workshop at Camsell Hall in Ottawa for NRCan employees. Participants were introduced to the Horizons Foresight Method, through a combination of presentations and collaborative exercises, with the overall goal of strengthening the department’s internal foresight capacity and contributing to policy development.
Introduction to Foresight Workshop: Industry Canada
On March 24, 2015, Horizons delivered a half-day workshop designed specifically for Industry Canada analysts. The event provided participants with an introduction to the Horizons Foresight Method that could be used to help guide the development of future policy and programs.
Find us on the web
Join our GCconnex group! We are proud to support GCTools, and want to collaborate on those platforms. You can also engage with us via our GCPedia Page, and can find out more about Horizons on our website.
In 2014, Horizons collaborated with a range of federal organizations on a foresight study to explore the increasing importance of Asia and potential implications for Canada. The study involved a series of scanning and foresight activities designed both to identify new insights and strengthen strategic foresight capacity among participants. The draft findings of the study are currently being tested with experts and will be further disseminated in the coming months in order to stimulate further dialogue and exploration on key issues relevant to government policy.
Horizons is committed to contributing to an agile, efficient and effective public service. One of the many ways we do so is through digital engagement. Here are some of our more recent initiatives:
GCconnex and Gcpedia
Horizons has been building its presence on the GC 2.0 tools platforms. With official pages on both GCconnex and GCpedia, we have continued our commitment to engage our fellow public servants and provide access to foresight learning resources. On both platforms, Horizons offers useful content including past reports, photo albums, archived publications and event summaries.
Horizons GCconnex Blog
Did you know, Horizons launched an official blog? The blog will cover a variety of topics including the Horizons Foresight Method, facilitation, engagement, innovative workplace practices as well as interviews and profiles.
Martin Berry is a Futurist at Policy Horizons Canada, a proud public servant and a graduate from the Strategic Foresight and Innovation program at OCAD University. Martin will be sharing tools for innovation and collaboration that he learned during his studies.
After a 10 year hiatus, I went back to school and was surprised to learn that we would be using sticky notes for a good portion of our time in class.
Whether trying to conquer writer’s block, start a project, frame a problem or refine a proven good idea, inviting just about anyone to help you think aloud is a great way to move things along. A tried and tested approach to innovation and problem solving is to stick to the process. This involves putting all the elements of the problem on a wall (or virtual wall, try Google drawing) for almost every step in the process. You do this to force those trying to collaborate to draw out the assumptions they hold on the particular issue. Useful negotiations begin as a team begins to place words on a wall, draw arrows between the words, group elements together and try to create titles for groupings. There is tremendous value in challenging each other on whether an arrow should point this way or that way, or whether a certain group should be represented by a certain colour. The wall becomes a representation of the group’s collective mental model of the problem, with richer nuance than each individual’s initial comprehension of the problem.
Learning to articulate your ideas clearly and concisely (think three words on a sticky) is a powerful skill to have when trying to solve complex problems. The adventurous type will welcome the communications skills best used to articulate nuanced ideas or thoughts yet articulable; drawings, words not yet invented or even pseudo-interpretive dance.
If the problem was easy and obvious, it would have already been solved.
Fun facts and technical jargon
- Distributed Cognition: Knowledge lies both within the individual and his/her environment. Putting sticky notes on a wall is an act of deliberate distributed cognition.
- Affinity Mapping: Grouping sticky notes into themes or clusters in order to create a hierarchy and organisation amongst ideas.
- Also check out ‘How the post-it note could become the latest innovation technology’ from Fast Company.
What tools do you use to work through a problem? Share your experience or best tip over on our GCconnex group!
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