Strategic Foresight for HR

Concept Note for the 2-day workshop on “Scenario Planning and Strategic Foresight for Human Rights in Pakistan”

February 14, 2020

Scenario planning is a strategic planning method used for more than half a century by government and private-sector organizations to make long-term and strategic decisions. Scenarios represent alternative futures and are a globally tested method of helping to decide what type of opportunities, risks and threats you or your organization may face in the future. Developing multiple relevant scenarios helps organizations to be ready when uncertain and unpredictable situations arise.

Strategic foresight is the understanding of alternative – possible, probable and preferred – futures and the worldviews and myths that underlie them. Thinking about the future helps us to identify threats to sustainability, take advantage of emerging opportunities, develop shared visions of a desirable future and build plans and strategies to achieve that future. With an awareness of increasing rates of change, foresight has acquired prominence as a process aiming to support forward-looking opinion formation in decision-making, both for public policies and businesses. The Department of Political science intends to facilitate a 2 day workshop on scenario planning and foresight for faculty and stakeholders on the theme of Human Rights.

Contents of the workshop

  1. An introduction to thinking about the future; rationales and objectives of foresight.
  2. History as an indicator of the future. What are the milestones and grand trends of time which have brought us to the present?
  3. Scrapping the present and questioning the assumptions of perceived reality. This intends to identify blind spots in current strategies. This will be explored using concepts of disowned futures, used futures and questioning of assumptions.
  4. Anticipating the future using STEEPV, futures triangle, futures wheel and emerging issues analysis
  5. Developing alternative scenarios of the future using integrated, double variable, genius and organization methods. Scenarios are possible stories of the future and by looking at a variety of possibilities; one comes closer to shaping the future, rather than merely predicting it.
  6. Exploring organizational/ individual/ stakeholder myths/metaphors and how to change those narratives using Causal Layered Analysis (CLA).
  7. Linking the future with the present using Back casting and Futures Action Model.

Mode of Delivery

The training workshop will be participatory and is expected to lead to discussions of the possibility of adapting the foresight techniques taught to the participants’ respective contexts. It is expected that participants will generate some form of report or output from the sessions. Follow-up projects can be designed and carried out by the participants in consultation with and supervision of the facilitator. The foresight workshops also intend to strengthen the team spirit, the trust and collaboration among the team members and will orient the team on the in-house capacities and potentials. The process should create a community and a platform that continues after the workshop to engage and build on this into a prototype.

About the Resource Person:

Umar Sheraz has applied, taught, and researched Scenario Planning for almost 12 years. He has designed and led dozens of Scenario Planning workshops in Pakistan, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Iran and Nepal to facilitate making of real-world strategic decisions by corporations, government agencies and universities. His clients in training, consultancy and report-writing roles include the Rockefeller Foundation, International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP), Think Tank Initiative Program, Institute of Alternative Futures, Bangladesh Enterprise Institute, Yazd University, Universiti Sans Islam Malaysia, to name a few. In Pakistan, Umar has worked with ARK Consulting, Pakistan Air Force, Madrassa Foundation, COMSTECH, Hans Siedel Foundation, GIZ Health Sector Support Program, LEAD Pakistan and a host of other NGOs, corporate entities and universities. His original insights relevant to scenario planning have been published in academic journals and practitioner-focused blogs.

Resource Person: Umar Sheraz works as a Senior Program Officer at the Centre for Policy Studies at COMSATS University Islamabad and holds a Masters Degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Houston.

Organizers: Society of Social Science Academics & Department of Political Science, University of Peshawar.

Venue: Seminar Hall, Department of Political Science, University of Peshawar.

Welcome to the Society of Social Science Academics

Our society is dedicated to the study of social sciences. We believe in carrying out this study through empirical research. We engage in interdisciplinary approaches to expand the horizon of our knowledge of social sciences.

This society is an academic initiative of young scholars in the field of social sciences, especially political science. We are encouraged by HEC’s (Pakistan) policies of promoting research endeavors in social sciences, and we wish to contribute by practically carrying out research projects.